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Prefatory and explanatory — The voyage out — The sentimental — The 
actual — The oblivious — The medley — Practical joking — An 
unwelcome companion — American patriotism — The first view — 
The departure • Page } 


An inhospitable reception — Halifax and the Blue Noses — The heat 
— Disappointed expectations — The great departed — What the 
Blue Noses might be — What the coach was not — Nova Scotia and 
its capabilities — The roads and their annoyances — A tea dinner — 
A night journey and a Highland cabin — A nautical catastrophe — 
A joyful reunion . .14 


Popular ignorance — The garden island — Summer and winter con- 
trasted — A wooden capital — Island politics^ and their consequences 

— Gossip — " Blowin-time *' — Religion and the clergy — The ser- 
vant nuisance — Colonial society — An evening party — An island 
premier — Agrarian outrage — A visit to the Indians — The pipe of 
peace — An Indian coquette — Country hospitality — A missionary 

— A novel mode of lobster-fishing — Uncivilised life — Far away 
in the woods — Starvation and dishonesty — An old Highlander 
and a Highland welcome — Hopes for the future . . .36 

a 2 



From St. George's Cross to the Stars and Stripes — Unpunctuality — 
Incompetence — A wretched night — Colonial curiosity — The 
fashions — A night in a buffalo robe — A stage journey — A queer 
character — Politics — Chemistry — Mathematics — Rotten bridges 
— A midnight arrival — Colonial ignorance — Yankee conceit — 
What ten-horse power chaps can do — The pestilence — ^"The city 
on the rock — New Brunswick — Steamboat peculiarities — Going 
ahead in the eating line — A storm — Stepping ashore . Page 59 


First experiences of American freedom — The " striped pig " and 
" Dusty Ben *' — A cotintry mouse — "What the cars are like — 
Beauties of New England — The land of apples — A Mammoth 
hotel — The rusty inkstand exiled — Eloquent eyes — Alone in a 
crowd 90 


A suspected bill — A friend in need — All aboard for the Western cars 

— The wings of the wind — American politeness — A loquacious 
conductor — Three minutes for refreshments — A conversation on 
politics — A confession — The emigrant car — Beauties of the woods 

— A forest on fire — Dangers of the cars — The Queen City of the 
West 104 


The Queen City continued — Its beauties — Its inhabitants, human 
and equine — An American church — Where chairs and bedsteads 
come from — Pigs and pork — A peep into Kentucky — Popular 
opinions respecting slavery — The curse of America , ,116 



The hickory stick — Chawing up ruinB — A forest scene — A curiotis 
questioner — Hard and soft shells — Dangers of a ferry — The west- 
em prairies — Nocturnal detention — The Wild West and the Father 
of Rivers — Breakfast in a shed — What is an alligator? — PhysJogf- 
nomy, and its uses — The ladies' parlour — A Chicago hotel, its 
inmates and its horrors — A water-drinking people — The Prairie 
City — Progress of the West Page 133 


A YexatiouB incident — John Bull enragfil. — WomaiT*s rights — Alli- 
gators become hosses — A popular host — Military display — A 
mirth-provoking gun — Grave reminiscence^^ Attractions of the 
fair — Past and present — A floating palace —^ Black companions — 
A black baby — Externals of Buffalo — The flag of England . 1 59 


The Place of Council — Its progresAnd its people — Englishiiearts — 
"Sebastopol is taken" — Squibs and crackers — A ship on her 
beam-ends — Selfishness — A mongrel city — A Scot — Constancy 
rewarded — Monetary difficulties — Detention on a bridge — A 
Canadian homestead — Life in the clearings — The bush on fire — 
A word on farming — The "bee" and its produce — Eccentricities 
of Mr. Haldimands — A ride on a troop-horse — Scotch patriotism — 
An English church — The servant nuisance — Richard Cobden 1 82 


" I've seen nothing" — A disappointment — Incongruities — Hotel 
gaieties and " doing Niagara " — Irish drosky-drivers — ** The Hell 
of Waters " — Beauties of Niagara — The picnic party — The white 
canoe — ^A cold shower-bath — " The Thunder of Waters" — ^A magic 
word — "Th^'Whirlpoor* — Story of "Bloody Run" — Yankee 
opinions of English ladies — A metamorphosis — The nigger guide 
— A terrible situation — Termination Rock — Impressions of 
Niagara — Juvenile precocity — A midnight journey — Street ad- 
ventures in Hamilton 216 



A scene at starting — That dear little Hany — The old lady and the 
race — Running the Rapids — An aside — Snow and discomfort — 
A new country — An extemporised ball — Adventure with a madman 
— Shooting the cataract — First appearance of Montreal — Its cha- 
racteristics — Quebec in a fog — " Muffins ** — Quebec gaieties — 
The pestilence — Restlessness — St. Louis and St. Roch — The 
shady side — Dark dens — External characteristics — Lord Elgin — 
Mistaking a senator ....... Page 239 


The House of Commons — Canadian gallantry — The constitution — 
Mr. Hincks — The ex-rebel — Parties and leaders — A street row — 
Repeated disappointments — The "habitEms" — Their houses and 
their virtues — A stationary people — Progress and its effects — 
Montmorenci — The natural staircase — The Indian summer — 
Lorette — The old people — Beauties of Quebec — The John 
Munn — Fear and its consequences — A gloomy journey . 276 


Concluding remarks on Canada — Territory — Climate — Capabilities — 
Railways and canals — Advantages for emigrants — Notices of emi- 
gration — Government — The franchise — Revenue — Population — 
Religion — Education — The press — Literature — Observations in 
conclusion , , 295 


Preliminary remarks on re-entering the States — Americanisms — A 
little slang — Liquoring up — Eccentricities in dress — A 'cute 
chap down east — Conversation on eating — A Kentucky gal — 
Lake Champlain — Delaval's — A noisy serenade— Albany — Beauties 
of the Hudson —The Empire City 321 



PoBition of New York — Externals of the city — Conveyances — Mal- 
administration — The stores — The hotels — Curiosities of the 
hospital — l^ged schools — The bad book — Monster schools — 
Amusements and oyster saloons — Monstrosities — A restaurant — 
Dwelling-houses — Equipages — Palaces — Dress — Figures — Man- 
ners — Education — Domestic habits — The ladies — The gentlemen 

— Society — Receptions — Anti-English feeling — Autographs — 
The buckram Englishman Page 3H4 


The cemetery — Its beauties — The " Potter's Field " — The graves of 

children — Monumental eccentricities — Arrival of emigrants 

Their reception — Poor dwellings — The dangerous class — The 
elections — The riots — Characteristics of the streets — Joiumey 
to Boston — The sights of Boston — Longfellow — Cambridge Uni- 
versity 376 


Origin of the Constitution — The Executiye — Congress — Local Legis- 
latures — The army and navy — Justice — Slavery — Political cor- 
ruption — The foreign element — Absence of principle — Associations 

— The Know-nothings — The press and its power — Keligion — 
The church — The clergy 405 


General remarks continued — The common schools — Their defect — 
Difficulties — Management of the schools — The free academy — 
Railways — Telegraphs — Poverty — Literature — Advantages for 
emigrants — DifiSculties of emigrants — Peace or war — Concluding 
observations ......... 432 


The America — A gloomy departure — An ugly night — Morning 
at Halifax — Our new passengers — Babies — Captain Leitch — A 
day at sea — Clippers and steamers — A storm — An Atlantic 
moonlight — Unpleasant sensations — A gale — Inkermann — Con- 
clusion .......... 450 


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Prefatory and explanatory — The voyage out — The sentimental — The 
actual — The oblivious — The medley — Practical joking — An 
unwelcome companion — American patriotism — The first view — 
The departure. 

As a general dislike of prefaces is unmistakeably evi- 
denced by their uncut leaves, and as unknown readers 
could scarcely be induced to read a book by the most 
cogent representations of an unknown author, and as 
apologies for '' rushing into print" are too trite and 
insincere to have any effect, I will merely prefix a few 
explanatory remarks to my first chapter. 

Circumstances which it is unnecessary to dwell upon 
led me across the Atlantic with some relatives ; and on 
my return^ I was requested by numerous friends to give 
an account of my travels. As this volume has been 
written with a view to their gratification, there is far 
more of personal narrative than is likely to interest the 
general reader. 

^ * It is necessary to state that this volume is not by the Authoress of 
the ' Englt^tooman in Eussia,* 



With respect to the people of the United States, I have 
given those impressio;Qs which as a traveller I formed ; if 
they are more favourable than those of some of my pre- 
decessors, the difference may arise from my having taken 
oat many excellent introductions, which afforded me 
greater facilities of seeing the best society in the States 
than are usually possessed by those who travel merely to 
see the country. 

Where I have offered any opinions upon the effect 
produced by the institutions of America, or upon any 
great national question, I have done so with extreme 
diffidence, giving impressions rather than conclusions, 
feeling the great injustice of drawing general inferences 
from partial premises, as well as the impossibility of 
rightly estimating cause and effect during a brief resid- 
ence in the United States. I have endeavoured to give 
a faithful picture of what I saw and heard, avoiding the 
beaten track as much as possible, and dwelling principally 
on those things in which I knew that my friends were 
most interested. 

Previously to visiting the United States, I had read most 
of the American travels which had been published ; yet 
from experience I can say that even those who read most 
on the Americans know little of them, from the disposition 
which leads travellers to seize and dwell upon the ludi- 
crous points which continually present themselves. 

We know that there is a vast continent across the 
Atlantic, first discovered by a Genoese sailing under 
the Spanish flag, and that for many years past it has 
swallowed up thousands of the hardiest of our population. 
Although our feelings are not particularly fraternal, we 


give the people infaabitiDg this continent the national cog- 
nomen of ^' Brother Jcmathan^^ while we name individuals 
" Yankees.^^ We know that they are famous for smoking, 
spitting, *^ gouging," and bowie-knives — for monster 
hotels, steamboat explosions, railway collisions, and re- 
pudiated debts. It is believed also that this nation is 
renowned for keeping three millions of Africans in 
slavery-— for wooden nutmegs, paper money, and ^^filli- 
buster'' expeditions — for carrying out nationally and 
individually the maxim 


That they may take who have the power, 
And they may keep who can." 

I went to the States with that amount of prejudice which 
seems the birthright of every English person, but I found 
that, under the knowledge of the Americans which can be 
attained by a traveller mixing in society in every grade^ 
these prejudices gradually melted away. I found much 
which is worthy of commendation, even of imitation: 
that there is much which is very reprehensible, is not to 
be wondered' at in a country which for years has been 
made a **cave of Adullam''— a refuge for those who 
Ijave " left their country for their country's good " — 
a receptacle for the barbarous, the degraded, and the 
vicious of all other nations. It must never be forgotten 
that the noble, the learned, and the wealthy have shrunk 
from the United States; her broad lands have been 
peopled to a great Extent by those whose stalwart arms 
have been their only possession. 

Is it surprising, considering these antecedents, that 
much of arrogance, coarseness, and vulgarity should be 

B 2 


met with ? Is it not rather surprising, that a traveller 
should meet with so little to annoy — so few obvious de- 
partures from the rules of propriety ? 

An Englishman bears with patience any ridicule which 
foreigners cast upon him. John Bull never laughs so 
loudly as when he laughs at himself; but the Americans 
are nationally sensitive, and cannot endure that good- 
humoured raillery wliich jests at their weaknesses and 
foibles. Hence candid and even favourable statements 
of the trtttk by English travellers are received with a 
perfect outcry by the Americans; and the phrases, 
'^ shameful misstatements," ** violation of the rights of 
hospitality," &c., are on every lip. 

Most assuredly that spirit of envious rivalry and depre- 
ciating criticism in which many English travellers have 
written, is greatly to be deprecated, no less than the tone 
of servile adulation which some writers have adopted; 
but our American neighbours must recollect that they 
provoked both the virulent spirit and the hostile carica- 
ture by the way in which some of their most popular 
writers of travels have led an ungenerous onslaught 
against our institutions and people, and the bitter tone in 
which their newspaper press, headed by the Tribune^ 
indulges towards the British nation. 

Having made these few remarks, I must state that at 
the time of my visit to the States I had no intention of 
recording my " experiences " in print ; and as my notes 
taken at the time were few and meagre, and have been 
elaborated from memory, some inaccuracies have occurred 
which it will not take a keen eye to detect. These must 
be set down to want of correct information rather than 


to wilful misrepresentation. The statistical information 
given is taken from works compiled by the Americans 
themselves. The few matters on which I write which 
did not come under my own observation^ I learned from 
trustworthy persons who have been long resident in the 

Of Canada it is scarcely necessary to speak here. Per- 
haps an English writer may be inclined to adopt too eulo- 
gistic a tone in speaking of that noble and loyal colony, in 
which British institutions are undergoing a Transatlantic 
trial, and where a free people is protected by British 
laws. There are, doubtless, some English readers who 
will be interested in the brief notices which I have given 
of its people, its society, and its astonishing capabilities.* 

The notes from which this volume is taken were written 
in the lands of which it treats : they have been amplified 
and corrected in the genial atmosphere of an English 
home. I will not offer hackneyed apologies for its very 
numerous faults and deficiencies ; but will conclude these 
tedious but necessary introductory remarks with the sin- 
cere hope that my readers may receive one hundredth 
part of the pleasure from the perusal of this volume 
which I experienced among the scenes and people of 
which it is too imperfect a record. 

Although bi-weekly steamers ply between England and 
the States, and many mercantile men cross the Atlantic 

* I must here record my gprateful acknowledgments to a gentleman 
in a prominent public position in Canada^ who has furnished me with 
much valuable information whibh I should not otherwise have 


twice annually on basiness, and think nothing of it, the 
Yoyage seems an important event when undertaken for the 
first time. Friends living in inland counties, and those 
who have been sea-sick in crossing the straits of Dover, 
exaggerate the dangers and discomforts of ocean travel- 
ling, and shake their heads knowingly about fogs and 

Then there are a certain number of boxes to be 
packed, and a very uncertain number of things to fill 
them, while clothing has to be provided suitable to a 
tropical summer, and a winter within the arctic circle. 
But a variety of minor arrangements,- and even an inde- 
finite number of leave-takings, cannot be indefinitely pro- 
longed ; and at eight o'clock on a Saturday morning in 
1854, 1 found myself with my friends on the landing-stage 
at Liverpool. 

Whatever sentimental feelings one might be inclined 
"^to indulge in on leaving the shores of England were 
usefully and instantaneously annihilated by the discomfort 
and crush in the Satellite steam-tender, in which the 
passengers were conveyed, helplessly huddled together 
like a fiock of sheep, to the Canada^ an 1850-ton paddle- 
wheel steamer of the Cunard line, which was moored in 
the centre of the Mersey. 

An investigation into the state-rooms, and the recital 
of disappointed expectations consequent on the discovery 
of their very small dimensions, the rescue of ^^ regulation" 
portmanteaus from sailors who were running off with 
them, and the indulgence of that errant curiosity which 
glances at everything and rests on nothing, occupied the 
time before the arrival of the mail-boat with about two 

Chap. I. THE STAET. 7 

tons of letters and newspapers, which were consigned to 
the mail-room with incredible rapidity. 

Then fiiends were abruptly dismissed — ^two guns were 
fired — ^the lashings were cast off— the stars and stripes 
flaunted gaily from the 'fore — ^the captain and pilot took 
their places on the paddle-boxes — the bell rang — our huge 
paddle-wheels reyolvedy and, to use the words in which 
the same event was chronicled by the daily press, 
^' The Cunard royal mail steamer Canada^ Captain Stone, 
left the Mersey this morning for Boston and Halifax, 
conveying the usual mails ; with one hundred and sixty- 
eight passengers, and a large cargo on freight." 

It was an auspiciously commenced voyage as far as 
appearances went. The summer sun shone brightly — 
the waves of the Mersey were crisp and foam-capped — 
and the fields of England had never worn a brighter 
green. The fleet of merchant-ships through which we 
passed was not without an interest. There were timber* 
ships, huge and square-sided, unmistakeably from Quebec 
or Miramichi — green high-stemed Dutch galliots — Ame- 
rican ships with long black hulls and tall raking masts — 
and those far-famed *^ Black Ball " clippers, the Marco 
Polo and the Champion of the Seas, — ^in short, the ships 
of all nations, with their marked and distinguishing pecu- 
liarities. But the most interesting object of all was the 
screw troop-ship Himalaya^ which was embarking the 
Scots Greys for the Crimea^that regiment which has 
since earned so glorious but fatal a celebrity on the 
bloody field of Balaklava. 

It is to be supposed that to those who were crossing 
the Atlantic for the first time to the western hemisphere 


there was some degree of excitement, and that regret 
was among the feelings with which they saw the coast of 
England become a faint cloud on the horizon ; but soon 
oblivion stole over the intellects of most of the passengers, 
leaving one absorbing feeling of disgust, first to the 
viands, next to those who could partake of them, and 
lastly to everything connected with the sea. Fortunately 
this state of things only lasted for two days, as the 
weather was very calm, and we ran with studding-sails 
set before a fair wind as far as the Nova Scotian coast. 

The genius of Idleness presided over us all. There 
were five ample meals every day, and people ate, and 
walked till they could eat again ; while some, extended on 
sofas, slept over odd volumes of novels from the ship's 
library, and others played at chess, cards, or backgammon 
from morning to night Some of the more active spirits 
played ** shuffle-boards," which kept the deck in an 
uproar ; while others enjoyed the dolce far niente in their 
*l)erths, except when the bell summoned to meals. There 
were weather-wise people, who smoked round the funnel 
all day, and prophesied foul winds every night ; and perti- 
nacious querists, who asked the captain every hour or two 
when we should reach Halifax. Some betted on the 
''run," and others on the time of reaching port ; in short, 
every expedient was resorted to by which time could be 

We had about twenty English passengers; the rest 
were Canadians, Americans, Jews, Germans, Dutch, 
French, Califomians, Spaniards, and Bavarians. Strict 
equality was preserved in this heterogeneous assembly. 
An Irish pork-merchant was seated at dinner next a Jew, 


who regarded the pig in toto as an abomination — a. lady, 
a scion of a ducal family, found herself next to a French 
cook going out to a San Franciscan eating-house — an 
officer, going out to high command at Halifax, was seated 
next a rough Californian, who wore " nuggets " of gold 
for buttons ; and there were contrasts even stronger than 
these. The most conspicuous of our fellow-voyagers was 
the editor of an American paper, who was writing a series 
of clever but scurrilous articles on England, from materials 
gleaned in a three weeks' tour ! 

Some of the Americans were very fond of practical 
jokes, but these were rather of a stupid description. 
There was a Spanish gentleman who used to promenade 
the deck with a dignity worthy of the Cid Rodrigo, ad- 
dressing everybody he met with this question, " Parlez^ 
vous Frangais^ Monsieur ^^^ and at the end of the voyage 
his stock of English only amounted to " Dice ? Sixpence." 
One day at dinner this gentleman requested a French- 
speaking Californian to tell him how to ask for dupain 
in English. " My donkeys," was the prompt reply, and 
the joke was winked down the table, while the Spaniard 
was hammering away at " My donkeys" till he got the 
pronunciation perfect. The waiter came round, and the 
unhappy man, in confident but mellifluous tones, pointing 
to the bread, asked for " My donkeys." 

Comic drinking-songs, and satires on the English, the 
latter to the tune of * Yankee Doodle,' were sung in the 
saloon in the evenings round large bowls of punch, and 
had the effect of keeping many of the ladies on deck, 
when a refuge from the cold and spray would have been 
desirable ; but with this exception the conduct of the 

B 3 



passengers on the whole was marked by far more pro- 
priety than could have been expected from so mixed a 
company. If the captain had been more of a disciplina- 
rian, even this annoyance might have been avoided. 

I had the misfortune of having for my companion in 
my state-room an Englishwoman who had resided for 
some years at New York, and who combined in herself 
the disagreeable qualities of both nations. She was in a 
frequent state of intoxication, and kept gin, brandy, and 
beer in her berth. Whether sober or not, she was equally 
voluble ; and as her language was not only inelegant, but 
replete with coarseness and profanity, the annoyance was 
almost insupportable. She was a professed atheist, and 
as such justly an object of commiseration, the weakness 
of her unbelief being clearly manifested by the frequency 
with which she denied the existence of a God. 

On one day, as I was reading my Bible, she exclaimed 
with a profane expression, ^^ I wish you'd pitch that book 
overboard, it 's enough to sink the sliip ;" the contradic- 
tion implied in the words showing the weakness of her 
atheism, which, while it promises a man the impunity of 
non-existence, and degrades him to desire it, very fre- 
quently seduces him to live as an infidel, but to die a ter- 
rified and despairing believer. 

It was a very uneventful voyage. The foul winds pro- 
phesied never blew, the^ icebergs kept far away to the 
northward, the excitement of flight from Russian pri- 
vateers was exchanged for the sight of one harmless mer- 
chantman ; even the fogs ofi^ Newfoundland turned out 
complete myths. 

On the seventh day out the bets on the hour of our 


arrival at Halifax increased in number and magnitude, 
and a lottery was started ; on the eighth we passed Cape 
Bace, and spoke the steamer Asia; our rigging was 
tightened, and our railings polished ; and in nine days and 
five hours from Liverpool we landed on the shores of the 
New World. The day previous to our landing was a 
Sunday, and I was pleased to observe the decorum which 
pervaded the ship. Service was conducted with propriety 
in the morning; a large proportion of the passengers 
read their Bibles or other religious books ; punch, chess, 
and cards were banished from the saloon ; and though 
we had almost as many creeds as nationalities, and some 
had no creed at all, yet those who might ridicule the ob- 
servance of the Sabbath themselves, avoided any proceed- 
ings calculated to shock what they might term the preju- 
dices of others. 

On the next day we had a slight head wind for the first 
time ; most of the passengers were sea-sick, and those 
who were not so were promenading the wet, sooty deck in 
the rain, in a uniform of oilskin coats and caps. The 
sea and sky were both of a leaden colour ; and as there 
was nothing to enliven the prospect but the gambols of 
some very uncouUi'^looking porpoises, I was lying half 
asleep on a settee, when I was roused by the voice of a 
kind-hearted Yankee skipper, saying, "Come, get up; 
there 's a glorious country and no mistake ; a great coun- 
try, a progressive country, the greatest country under 
the sun." The honest sailor was rubbing his hands with 
delight as he spoke, his broad, open countenance beaming 
with a perfect glow of satisfaction. I looked in the direc- 
tion indicated by his finger, and beheld, not the lofty 


pinnacled clifis of the "Pilgrim Fathers," but a low 
gloomy coast, looming through a mist. 

I already began to appreciate the hearty enthusiasm 
with which Americans always speak of their country, de- 
signated as it is by us by the names " National vanity," 
and ^' Boastfulness." This esprit du pays^ although it 
is sometimes carried to a ridiculous extent, is greatly to 
be preferred to the abusive manner in which au English- 
man accustoms himself to speak of the glorious country 
to which he appears to feel it a disgrace to belong. It 
does one good to hear an American discourse on America, 
his panegyric generally concluding with the words, 
" We're the greatest people on the face of the earth." 

At dusk, after steaming during the whole day along 
the low green coast of Nova Scotia, we were just outside 
the heads of Halifax harbour, and the setting sun was 
bathing the low, pine-clad hills of America in floods of 
purple light. A pilot came off to offer his services, but 
was rejected, and to my delight he hailed in a pure 
English accent, which sounded like a friendly welcome. 
The captain took his place on the paddle-box, and our 
speed was slackened. Two guns were fired, and their 
echoes rolled for many a mile among the low, purple hills, 
from which a soft, fragrant scent of pines was borne to us 
on the evening breeze, reminding me of the far-distant 
mountains of Scotland. The tiny waves rippled towards 
us like diamonds, the moon and stars shone brilliantly 
from a summer sky, and the white smoke from our guns 
floated away in silver clouds. 

People were tumbling over each other in their haste, 
and making impossible demands, each one being anxious 

Chap. 1. THE LANDING. 13 

to have bis luggage produced first, though the said lug- 
gage might be at the bottom of the hold; babies, as 
babies always do, persisted in crying just at the wrong 
time; articles essential to the toilet were missing, and 
sixpences or half-sovereigns had found their way into 
impossible crevices. Invitations were given, cards ex- 
changed, elderly ladies imthinkingly promised to make 
errant expeditions to visit agreeable acquaintances in 
California, and by the time the last words had been 
spoken we were safely moored at Cunard's wharf. 

The evening gun boomed from the citadel. I heard 
the well-known British bugle ; I saw the familiar scarlet 
of our troops ; the voices which vociferated were English ; 
the physiognomies had the Anglo-Saxon cast and com- 
plexion ; and on the shores of the western hemisphere I 
felt myself at home. Yet, as I sprang from the boat> and 
set my foot for the first time on American soil, I was 
vexed that these familiar sights and sounds should de- 
prive me of the pleasurable feeling of excitement which 
I had expected to experience under such novel circum- 



An inhoBpitable reception — Halifax and the Blue Noses — The heat — 
Disappointed expectations — The great departed — TVhat the Blue 
Noses might be < — What the coabh was not — Nova Scotia and its 
capabilities — The roads and their annoyances — A tea dinner — A 
night journey and a Highland cabin — A nautical catastrophe — 
A joyful reunion. 

The Cunard steamers are powerful, punctual, and safe, 
their cuisine excellent, their arrangements admirable, till 
they reach Halifax, which is usually the destination of 
many of the passengers. I will suppose that the voyage 
has been propitious, and our guns have thundered forth 
the announcement that the news of the Old World has 
reached the New ; that the stewards have been fee^d and 
the captain complimented ; and that we have parted on 
the best ppssible terms with the Company, the ship, and our 
fellow-passengers. The steamer generally remains for 
two or three hours at Halifax to coal, and unship a portion 
of her cargo, and there is a very natural desire on the 
part of the passengers to leave what to many is at best 
a floating prison, and set foot on firm ground, even for 
an hour. Those who, like ourselves, land at Halifax for 
the interior, are anxious to obtain rooms at the hotel, and 
all who have nothing else to do hurry to the ice-shop, 
where the luxury of a tumbler of raspberry-cream ice 
can be obtained for threepence. Besides the hurried 


rush of those who with these varied objects in view leave 
the steamer, there are crowds of incomers in the shape of 
porters, visitors, and coalheavers, and passengers for the 
States, who prefer the comfort and known punctuality of 
the Royal Mail steamers to the delay, danger, and uncer- 
tainty of the intercolonial route, though the expense of 
the former is nearly double. There are the friends of 
the passengers, and numbers of persons who seem particu- 
larly well acquainted with the purser, who bring fruits, 
vegetables, meat, poultry, and lobsters. 

From this description it may be imagined that there is 
a motley and considerable crowd ; but it will scarcely be 
imagined that there is only one regulation, which is, that 
no persons may enter or depart till the mail-bags have 
been landed. The wharf is small and at night unlighted, 
and the scene which ensued on our landing about eight 
o'clock in the evening reminded me, not by contrast, but 
resemblance, of descriptions which travellers give of the 
disembarkation at Alexandria. Directly that the board 
was laid from the Canada to the wharf a rush both in 
and out took place, in which I was separated from my 
relations, and should have fallen had not a friend, used 
to the scene of disorder, come to my assistance. 

The wharf was dirty, unlighted, and under repair, 
covered with heaps and full of holes. My friend was 
carrying three parcels, when three or four men made a 
rush at us, seized them from him, and were only com* 
pelled to relinquish them by some sharp physical argu- 
mentS' A large gateway, lighted by one feeble oil-lamp 
at the head of the wharf, was then opened, and the crowd 
pent up behind it came pouring down the sloping road. 


There was a simultaneous rush of trucks, hand-carts, 
waggons, and cars, their horses at full trot or canter, two 
of them rushing against the gravel-heap on which I was 
standing, where they were upset. Struggling, shouting, 
beating, and scuf9ing, the drivers all forced their way 
upon the wharf, regardless of cries from the ladies and 
threats from the gentlemen, for all the passengers had 
landed and were fighting their way to an ice-shop. Por- 
ters were scuffling with each other for the possession of 
portmanteaus, wheels were locked, and drivers were vehe- 
mently expostulating in the rich brogue of Erin ; people 
were jostling each other in their haste, or diving into the 
dimly-lighted custom-house, and it must have been fully 
half an hour before we had extricated ourselves from this 
chaos of mismanagement and disorder, by scrambling over 
gravel-heaps and piles of timber, into the dirty, unlighted 
streets of Halifax. 

Dirty they were then, though the weather was very 
dry, for oyster-shells, fish heads and bones, potato-skins, 
and cabbage-stalks littered the roads ; but dirty was a 
word which does not give the faintest description of the 
almost impassable state in which I found them, when I 
waded through them ankle-deep in mud some months 

We took apartments for two days at the Waverley 
House, a most comfortless place, yet the best inn at 
Halifax. Three hours after we landed, the Canada fired 
her guns, and steamed off to Boston ; and as I saw her 
coloured lights disappear round the heads of the harbour, 
I did not feel the slightest regret at having taken leave 
of her for ever. 


We remained for two days at Hali&x, and saw the 
little which was worth seeing in the Nova-Scotian capital. 
I was disappointed to find the description of the lassitude 
and want of enterprise of the Nova-Scotians, given hy 
feMl Judge HaJ^burton, so painfully correct. Halifax pos- 
sesses one of the deepest and most commodious harbours 
in the world, and is so safe that ships need no other guide 
into it than their charts. There are several small forti- 
fied islands at its mouth, which assist in its defence with- 
out impeding the navigation. These formidable forts 
protect the entrance, and defend the largest naval depot 
which we possess in North America. The town itself, 
which contains about 25,000 people, is on a small penin- 
sula, and stands on a slope rising from the water's edge 
to the dtadel, which is heavily armed, and amply sufScient 
for every purpose of defence. There are very great 
natural advantages in the neighbourhood, lime, coal, 
slate, and minerals being abundant, added to which Hali- 
&x is the nearest port to Europe. 

Yet it must be confessed that the Nova-Scotians are 
far belund, not only their neighbours in the States, but 
their fellow-subjects in Canada and New Brunswick. 
There are capacious wharfs and roomy warehouses, yet 
one laments over the absence of everything like trade 
and business. With the finest harbour in North America, 
with a country abounding in minerals, and coasts swarm- 
ing with fish, the Nova-Scotians appear to have expunged 
the word progress from their dictionary — still live in 
shingle houses, in streets without side walks, rear long- 
legged ponies, and talk largely about railroads, which 
they seem as if they would never complete, because they 


trust more to the House of Assembly than to their own 
energies. Consequently their astute and enterprising 
neighbours the Yankees, the acute speculators of Massa^ 
chusetts and Connecticut, have seized upon the traffic 
which they have allowed to escape them, and have di- 
verted it to the thriving town of Portland in Maine. 
The day after we landed was one of intense heat, the 
thermometer stood at 93^ in the shade. The rays of a 
summer sun scorched the shingle roof of our hotel, and, 
penetrating the thin plank walls, made the interior of the 
house perfectly unbearable. There were neither sun- 
shades nor Venetian blinds, and not a tree to shade the 
square white wooden house from an almost tropical heat. 

When I came into the . parlour I found Colonel H 

stretched on the sofa, almost expiring with heat, my 
cousin standing panting before the window in his shirt- 
sleeves, and his little boy lying moaning on the hearth- 
rug, with his shoes off, and his complexion like that of a 
Eed Indian. One of our party had been promenading 
the broiling streets of Halifax without his coat I A gen- 
tleman from one of the Channel Islands, of unsophisticated 
manners and excellent disposition, who had landed with 
us en route to a town on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, had 
fancied our North American colonies for ever " locked in 
regions of thick-ribbed ice," and consequently was abun- 
dantly provided with warm clothing of every description. 
With this he was prepared to face a thermometer at 
twenty degrees below zero. 

But when he found a torrid sun, and the thermometer 
at 93^ in the shade, his courage failed him, and, with all 
his preconceived ideas overthrown by the burning ex- 

Ch^. II. INDIANS. 19 

perience of one daj, despair seized on bim, and his ex- 
pressions of horror and astonishment were coupled with 
lamentations oyer the green fertility of Jersey. The 
colonel was obliged to report himself at head^quarters in 
his full uniformy which was evidently tight and hot ; and 
after changing his apparel three times in the day, appa* 
rently without being a gainer, he went out to make 
certain meteorological inquiries, among others if 93^ were 
a common temperature. 

The conclusion he arrived at was, that the '^ climate 
alternates between the heat of India and the cold of 

We braved the heat at noonday in a stroll through the 
town, for, from the perfect dryness of the atmosphere, it 
is not of an oppressive nature. I saw few whites in the 
streets at this hour. There were a great many Indians 
lying by the doornsteps, having disposed of their baskets, 
besoms, and raspberries, by the sale of which they make 
a scanty livelihood. The men, with their jet-black hair, 
rich complexions, and dark liquid brown eyes, were almost 
invariably handsome ; and the women, whose beauty 
departs before they are twenty, were something in the 
" Meg Merrilies " style. 

When the French first colonised this country, they 
called it '^ Acadie.'* The tribes of the Mic-Mac Indians 
peopled its forests, and, among the dark woods which 
then surrounded Halifax, they worshipped the Great 
Spirit, and hunted the moose-deer. Their birch-bark 
wigwams peeped from among the trees, their squaws 
urged their light canoes over the broad deep harbour, 
and their wise men spoke to them of the ^' happy hunting- 


grounds." The French destroyed them not, and gave 
them a corrupted form of Christianity, inciting their pas- 
sions against the English by telling them that they were 
the people who had crucified the Saviour. Better had it 
been for them if battle or pestilence had swept them at 
once away. 

The Mic-Macs were a fierce and warlike people, too 
proud to mingle with an alien race — too restless and 
active to conform to the settled habits of civilization. 
Too proud to avail themselves of its advantages, they 
learned its vices, and, as the snow-wreaths in spring, they 
melted away before the poisonous " fire-water," and the 
deadly curse of the white man's wars. They had wel- 
comed the ** pale faces " to the " land of the setting 
sun," and withered up before them> smitten by their 

Almost destitute of tradition, their history involved in 
obscurity, their broad lands filled with their unknown and 
nameless graves, these mighty races have passed away ; 
they could not pass into slavery, therefore they must die. 

At some future day a mighty voice may ask of those 
who have thus wronged the Indian, " Where is now thy 
brotlier ? " It is true that frequently we arrived too late 
to save them as a race from degradation and dispersion ; 
but as they heavily tottered along to their last home, 
under the burden of the woes which contact with civili- 
zation ever entails upon the aborigmes, we might have 
spoken to them the tidings of '^ peace on earth and good 
will to men " — of a Saviour " who hath abolished death, 
and hath brought life and immortality to light through 
his gospel." 


Far away amid the thunders of Niagara, surrounded 
by a perpetual rainbow, Iris Island contains almost the 
only known burying-place of the race of red men. Pro- 
bably the simple Indians who buried their dead in a place 
of such difficult access, and sacred to the Great Spirit, 
did so from a wish that none might ever disturb their 
ashes. None can tell how long those interred there have 
slept their last long sleep, but the ruthless hands of the 
white men have profaned the last resting-place of the 
departed race. 

There were also numerous blacks in the streets, and, 
if I might judge from the brilliant colours and good 
quality of their clothing, they must gain a pretty good 
living by their industry. A large number of these blacks 
and their parents were carried away from the States by 
one of our admirals in the war of 1812, and landed at 

The capital of Nova Scotia looks like a town of cards, 
nearly all the buildings being of wood. There are 
wooden houses, wooden churches, wooden wharfs, wooden 
slates, and, if there are side walks, they are of wood also. 
I was pleased at a distance with the appearance of two 
churches, one of them a Gothic edifice, but on nearer in- 
spection I found them to be of wood, and took refuge in 
the substantial masonry of the really handsome Province 
Building and Government House. We went up to the 
dtadel, which crowns the hill, and is composed of an 
agglomeration of granite walls, fosses, and casemates, 
mounds, ditches, barracks, and water-tanks. 

If I was pleased with the familiar uniforms of the 
artillerymen who lounged about the barracks, I was far 


more so with the "new from the citadel. It was a soft 
summer evening, and, seen through the transparent at- 
mosphere, everything looked unnaturally near. The 
large town of Halifax sloped down to a lake-'like harbour, 
about two miles wide, dotted with islands ; and ranges of 
picturesque country spangled with white cottages lay on 
the other side. The lake or firth reminded me of the 
Oareloch, and boats were sailing about in all directions 
before the evening breeze. From tangled coppices of 
birch and fir proceeded the tinkle of the bells of 
numerous cows, and, mingled with the hum of the city, 
the strains of a military band rose from the streets to 
our ears. 

With so many natural advantages, and such capa*- 
bilities for improvement, I cannot but regret the unhappy 
quarrels and maladministration which threaten to leave 
the noble colony of Nova Scotia an incubus and excres* 
cence on her flourishing ancf progressive neighbours, 
Canada and New Brunswick. From the talk about rail- 
ways, steamers, and the House of Assembly, it is pleasant 
to turn to the one thing which has been really done, 
namely, the establishment of an electric telegraph line to 
St. John, and thence to tiie States. By means of this 
system of wires, which is rough and inexpensive to a 
degree which in England we should scarcely believe, the 
news brought by the English mail steamer is known at 
Boston, New York, New Orleans, Cincinnati, and all the 
great American cities^ before it has had time to reach the 
environs of Halifax itself. 

The telegraph costs about 20/. per mile, and the wires 
are generally supported on the undressed stems of [unes, 


but are often carried from tree to tree along miserable 
roads, or through the deep recesses of the forests. 

The stores in Halifax are pretty good, all manu- 
factured articles being sold at an advance on English 
prices. Books d,lone are cheap and abundant, being the 
American editions of pirated English works. 

On the morning when we left Halifax I was awakened 
by the roll of the British drum and the stirring strains of 
the Highland bagpipe. Beady equipped for the tedious 
journey before us, from Halifax to Pictou in the north of 
the colony, I was at the inn-door at six, watching the 
fruitless attempts of the men to pile our mountain of 
luggage on the coach. 

Do not let the word eoach conjure up a vision of ^^ ths 
good old times^^ a dashing mail with a well-groomed team 
of active bays, harness all ^' spick and span," a gentle- 
manly-looking coachman, and a guard in military scarlet^ 
the whole afiair rattling along the road at a pace of ten 
miles an hour. 

The vehicle in which we performed a journey of 120 
miles in 20 hours deserves a description. It consisted of 
a huge coach-body, slung upon two thick leather straps ; 
the sides were open, and the places where windows ought 
to have been were screened by heavy curtains of tarnished 
moose-deer hide. Inside were four cross-seats, intended 
to accommodate twelve persons, who were very imper- 
fectly sheltered from the weather. Behind was a large 
rack for luggage, and at the back of the driving-seat wa« 
a bench which held three persons* The stage was painted 
scarlet, but looked as if it had not been washed for a year. 
The team of six strong white horses was driven by a 


Yankee, remarkable only for his silence. About a ton of 
lugg%6 ^^ packed on and behind the stage, and two 
open portmanteaus were left behind without the slightest 
risk to their contents. 

Twelve people and a baby were with some difficulty 
stowed in the stage, and the few interstices were filled up 
with baskets, bundles, and packages. The coachman 
whipped his horses, and we rattled down the uneven 
streets of Halifax to a steam ferry-boat, which conveyed 
the stage across to Dartmouth, and was so well arranged 
that the six horses had not to alter their positions. 

Our road lay for many miles over a barren, rocky, un- 
dulating country, covered with var and spruce trees, with 
an undergrowth of raspberry, wild rhododendron, and 
alder. We passed a chain of lakes extending for sixteen 
miles, their length varying from one to three miles, and 
their shores covered with forests of gloomy pine. People 
are very apt to say that Nova Scotia is sterile and barren, 
because they have not peneti'ated into the interior. It is 
certainly rather difficult of access, but I was by no means 
sorry that my route lay through it. The coast of Nova 
Scotia is barren, and bears a very distinct resemblance to 
the east of Scotland. The climate, though severe in 
winter and very foggy, is favourable both to health and 
vegetation. The peach and grape ripen in the open air, 
and the cultivation of com and potatoes amply repays the 
cultivator. A great part of the country is still covered 
with wood, evidently a second growth, for, wherever the 
trees of the fir tribe are cut down or destroyed by fire, 
hard-wood trees spring up. 

So among the maple, the American elm, and the 


purple-blossomed sumach, the huge scorched and leafless 
stems of pines would throw up their giant arms as if to 
tell of some former conflagration. In clearings among 
these woods, slopes of ground are to be seen covered with 
crops of oats and maize, varied with potatoes and pump- 
kins. Wherever the ground is unusually poor on the 
surface, mineral treasures abound. There are beds of 
coal of vast thickness ; iron in various forms is in pro- 
fusion, and the supply of gypsum is inexhaustible. Many 
parts of the country are very suitable for cattle- rearing, 
and there are " water privileges " without end in the 
shape of numerous rivers. I have seldom seen finer 
country in the colonies than the large tract of cleared 
undulating land about Truro, and I am told that it is 
far exceeded by that in the neighbourhood of Windsor. 
Wherever apple-trees were planted they seemed to flourish, 
and the size and flavour of their fruit evidences a short, 
hot summer. While the interior of the country is so 
fertile, and is susceptible of a high degree of improve- 
ment, it is scarcely fair in the Nova-Scotians to account 
for their backwardness by pointing strangers to their 
sterile and iron-bound coast. But they are a moral, 
hardy, and loyal people ; none of our colonial fellow- 
subjects are more attached to the British crown, or more 
ready to take up arms in its defence. 

I was greatly pleased with much that I heard, and 
with the little I saw of the Nova-Scotians. They seemed 
temperate, sturdy, and independent, and the specimens 
we had of them in the stage were civil, agreeable, and 

After passing the pretty little village -of Dartmouth, 



26 A C0AB8E BSEAKFAST. Chap. n. 

we came upon some wigwams of Inrch-bark among the 
trees. Some sqnaws, with papooses strapped upon their 
backs, stared vacantly at us as we passed, and one little 
barefooted Indian, with a lack of apparel which showed 
his finely moulded form to the best advantage, ran by 
the side of the coach for two or three miles, bribed by 
coppers which were occasionally thrown to him. 

A dreary stage of eighteen miles brought us to Shultze's, 
a road-side inn by a very pretty lake, where we were told 
the ^' coach breakfasted" Whether Transatlantic coaches 
can perform this, to us, unknown feat, I cannot pretend 
to say, but toe breakfasted. A very coarse repast was 
prepared for us, consisting of stewed salt veal, country 
cheese, rancid salt butter, fried eggs, and barley bread ; 
but we were too hungry to find fault either with it, or with 
the charge made for it, which equalled that at a London 
hotel. Our Yankee coachman, a man of monosyllables, 
sat next to me, and I was pleased to see that he regaled 
himself on tea instead of spirits. 

We packed ourselves into the stage again with great 
difficulty, and how the forty-eight limbs fared was shown 
by the painful sensations experienced for several succeed- 
ing days. All the passengers, however, were in perfectly 
good Kumour, and amused each other during the eleven 
hours spent in this painful way. At an average speed 
of six miles an hour we travelled over roads of various 
descriptions, plank, corduroy, and sand ; up long heavy 
hills, and through swamps swarming with mosquitoes. 

Every one has heard of corduroy roads, but how few 
have experienced their miseries! They are generally 
used for traversing swampy ground, and are formed of 


small pine-trees deprived of their branches, which are laid 
across the track alongside each otlier. The wear and 
tear of travelling soon separates these, leaving gaps 
between ; and when, added to this> one trunk rqis away, 
and another sinks down into the swamp, and another tilts 
up, you may imagine such a jolting as only leather 
springs could bear. On the very worst roads, filled with 
deep holes, or covered with small granite boulders, the 
stage only swings on the straps. Ordinary springs, be- 
sides dislocating the joints of the passengers, would be 
wrenched and broken after a few miles travelling. 

Even as we were, faces sometimes came into rather 
close proximity to each other and to the side railings, 
and heads sustained very unpleasant collisions. The 
amiable man who was so disappointed with the American 
climate sufiered very much from the journey. He said 
he had thought a French diligence the climax of dis- 
comfort, but a " stage was misery, oh torture 1" Each 
time that we had rather a worse jolt than usual the poor 
man groaned, which always drew forth a chorus of 
laughter, to which he submitted most good-humouredly. 
Occasionally he would ask the time, when some one 
would point maliciously to his watch, remarking, " Twelve 
hours more,'* or " Fifteen hours more," when he would 
look up with an expression of despair. The bridges 
wore a very un-English feature. Over the small streams 
or brooks they consisted of three pines covered with 
planks, without any parapet — with sometimes a plank 
out, and sometimes a hole in the middle. Over large 
streams they were wooden erections of a most peculiar 
kind, with high parapets; their insecurity being evi- 

c 2 



denced by the notice, " Walk your horses, according to 
law," — a notice generally disregarded by our coachman, 
as he trotted his horses over the shaking and rattling 

We passed several small streams, and one of a large 
size, the Shubenacadie, a wide, slow, muddy river, 
flowing through willows and hedges, like the rivers in the 
fen districts of England. At the mouth of the Shubena- 
cadie the tides rise and fall forty feet. 

In Nova Scotia the animals seemed to be more care- 
fully lodged than the people. Wherever we changed 
horses, we drove into a lofty shed, opening into a large* 
stable with a boarded floor scrupulously clean, generally 
containing twenty horses. The rigour of the climate in 
winter necessitates such careful provision for the support 
of animal life. The coachman went into the stable and 
chose his team, which was brought out, and then a scene 
of kicking, biting, and screaming ensued, ended by the 
most furious kickers being put to the wheel ; and after a 
certain amount of talking, and settling the mail-bags, the 
ponderous vehicle moved ofi* again, the leaders always 
rearing for the first few yards. 

For sixty miles we were passing through woods, the 
trees sometimes burned and charred for several miles, 
and the ground all blackened round them. We saw very 
few clearings, and those there were consisted merely of a 
few acres of land, separated from the forest by rude 
" snake-fences." Stumps of trees blackened by fire stood 
up among the oat-crops ; but though they look extremely 
untidy, they are an unavoidable evil for two or three 
years, till the large roots decay. 



EVeven hours passed by not at all wearisomely to me, 
though my cousins and their children suffered much from 
cramp and fatigue, and at five, after an ascent of three 
hours, we began to descend towards a large tract of culti- 
vated undulating country, in the centre of which is 
situated a large settlement called Truro. There, at a 
wretched hostelry, we stopped to dine, but the meal by no 
means answered to our English ideas of dinner. A cup 
of tea was placed by each plate ; and after the company, 
principally consisting of agricultural settlers, had made a 
substantial meal of mutton, and the potatoes for which 
' the country is famous, they solaced themselves with this 
beverage. No intoxicating liquor was placed upon the 
table,* and I observed the same temperate habits at the 
inns in New Brunswick, the city of St. John not ex- 
cepted. It was a great pleasure to me to find that 
the intemperance so notoriously prevalent among a 
similar class in England was so completely discouraged 
in Nova Scotia. The tea was not tempting to an 
English palate; it was stewed, and sweetened with 

While we were waiting for a fresh stage and horses, 
several waggons came up, laden with lawyers, store- 
keepers, and ship-carpenters, who with their families were 
flying from the cholera at St. John, New Brunswick. 

I enjoyed the next fifty miles exceedingly, as I tra- 
velled outside on the driving-seat, with plenty of room to 

* I write merely of what feU mider my own observation, for there 
has been so much spirit-drinking in Nova Scotia, that the legislature 
has deemed it expedient to introduce the "Maine Law,'* with its strin- 
gent and somewhat arbitrary provisions. 


expatiate. The coachman was a very intelligent settler, 
pressed into the service, because Jengro, the French Ca- 
nadian driver, had indulged in a fit of intoxication in 
opposition to a temperance meeting held at Truro the 
evening before. 

Our driver had not tasted spirits for thirty years, and 
finds that a cup of hot tea at the end of ^ cold journey 
is a better stimulant than a glass of grog. 

It was just six o'clock when we left Truro ; the shades 
of evening were closing round us, and our road lay over 
fifty miles of nearly uninhabited country ; but there was 
so much to learn and hear, that we kept up an animated 
and unflagging conversation hour after hour. The last 
cleared laud was passed by seven, and we entered the 
forest, beginning a long and tedious ascent of eight miles. 
At a post-house in the wood we changed horses, and put 
on some lanterns, not for the purpose of assisting our- 
selves, but to guide the boy-driver of a waggon or 
" extra," who, having the responsibility of conducting four 
horses, came clattering close behind us. The road was 
hilly, and often ran along the very edge of steep decli- 
vities, and our driver, who did not know it well, and was 
besides a cautious man, drove at a most moderate pace. 

Not so the youthfiil Jehu of the light vehicle behind. 
He came desperately on, cracking his whip, shouting 
" G'lang, Gee'p,*' rattling down hill, and galloping up, 
and whirling round corners, in spite of the warning 
" Steady, whoa 1" addressed to him by our careful escort. 
Once the rattling behind entirely ceased, and we stopped, 
our driver being anxious for the safety of his own4;eam, 
as well as for the nine passengers who were committed 



on a dark night to the care of a boy of thirteen. The 
waggon soon came clattering on again, and remaiDed in 
disagreeably close proximity to us till we arrived at 

At ten o'clock, after another long ascent, we stopped 
to water the horses, and get some refreshment, at a shanty 
kept by an old Highland woman, well known as " Nancy 
Stuart of the Mountain.^* Here two or three of us got 
off, and a comfortable meal was soon provided, consisting 
of tea, milk, oat-cake, butter, and cranberry and rasp- 
berry jam. This meal we shared with some handsome, 
gloomy-looking, bonneted Highlanders, and some large 
ugly dogs. The room was picturesque enough, with 
blackened rafters, deer and cow horns hung round it, and 
a cheerful log fire. After tea I spoke to Nancy in 
her natiTC tongue, which so delighted her, that I could 
not induce her to accept anything for my meal. On 
finding that I knew her birthplace in the Highlands, she 
became quite talkative, and on wishing her good bye 
with the words " Oiche mhaith dkuibh; Beannachd 
luibhT'* she gave my hand a true Highland grasp with 
both of hers ; a grasp bringing back visions of home and 
fiiends, and " the bonnie North countrie." 

A wild drive we had from this place to Pictou. 
The road lay through forests which might have been 
sown at the beginning of time. Huge hemlocks threw 
high their giant arms, and from between their dark stems 
gleamed the bark of the silver birch. Elm, beech, and 
maple flourished ; I missed alone the oak of England. 

* Good night ; bleBsings be with you. 

32 PICTOU. Chap. II. 

The solemn silence of these pathless roads was broken 
only by the note of the distant bull-frog ; meteors fell in 
streams of fire, the crescent moon occasionally gleamed 
behind clouds from which the lightning flashed almost 
continually, and the absence of any familiar faces made 
me realize at length that I was a stranger in a strange 

After the subject of the colony had been exhausted, I 
amused the coachman with anecdotes of the supernatural — 
stories of ghosts, wraiths, apparitions, and second sight ; 
but he professed himself a disbeliever, and I thought I 
had failed to make any impression on him, till at last he 
started at the crackling of a twig, and the gleaming 
whiteness of a silver birch. He would have liked the 
stories better, he confessed at length, if the night had not 
been quite so dark. 

The silence of the forest was so solemn, that, remem- 
bering the last of the Mohicans, we should not have been 
the least surprised if an Indian war-whoop had burst 
upon our startled ears. 

We were travelling over the possessions of the Red men. 

Nothing more formidable occurred than the finding of 
three tipsy men laid upon the road ; and our coachman 
had to alight and remove them before the vehicle could 

We reached Pictou at a quarter past two on a very 
chilly starlight morning, and by means of the rude tele- 
graph, which runs along the road, comfortable rooms* had 
been taken for us at an inn of average cleanliness. 

Here we met with a storekeeper from Prince Edward 
Island, and he told us that the parents of my cousins, 


whom we were about to visit, knew nothing whatever of 
our intended arrival, and supposed their children to be in 

As a colonial dinner is an aggregate of dinner and tea, 
so a colonial breakfast is a curious complication of break- 
fast and dinner, combining, I think, the advantages of 
both. It is only an extension of the Highland breakfast ; 
fish of several sorts, meat, eggs, and potatoes, buckwheat 
fritters and Johnny cake, being served with the tea and 

Pictou may be a flourishing town some day: it has 
extensive coal-mines ; one seam of coal is said to be thirty 
feet thick. At present it is a most insignificant place, 
and the water of the harbour is very shallow* The 
distance from Pictou to Charlotte Town, Prince Edward 
Island, is sixty miles, and by this route, through Nova 
Scotia and across Northumberland Strait, the English 
mail is transmitted once a fortnight 

A fearful catastrophe happened to the Fairy Queen^ a 
small mail steamer plying between these ports, not long 
ago. By some carelessness, she sprang a leak and sank ; 
the captain and crew escaping to Pictou in the ship's 
boats, which were large enough to have saved all the 
passengers. Here they arrived, and related the story of 
the wreck, in the hope that no human voice would ever 
tell of their barbarity and cowardice. Several perished 
with the ill-fated vessel, among whom were Dr. Mac- 
kenzie, a promising young officer, and two young ladies, 
one of whom was coming to England to be married, A 
few of the passengers floated ofl^ on the upper deck and 
reached the land in safety, to. bear a terrible testimony 

o 3 


to the inhumanity which had left their oompanions to 
perish. A voice from the dead could not have struck 
greater horror into the heart of the craven captain than 
did that of those whom he never expected to meet till 
the sea should give up her dead. The captain was com- 
mitted for manslaughter, but escaped the punishment 
due to his offence, though popular indignation was 
strongly excited against him. We were told to be on 
board the Lady le Marchard by twelve o'clock, and 
endured four hours' detention on her broiling deck, with- 
out any more substantial sustenance than was afibrded to 
us by some pine-apples. We were five hours in crossing 
Northumberland Strait — five hours of the greatest pos- 
sible discomfort. We had a head-wind and a rough 
chopping sea, which caused the little steamer to pitch 
unmercifully. After gaining a distant view of Cape 
Breton Island, I lay down on a mattress on deck, in spite 
of the persecutions of an animated friend, who kindly 
endeavoured to rouse me to take a first view of Prince 
EdWard Island. 

When at last, in the comparative calmness of the 
entrance to Charlotte Town harbour, I stood up to look 
about me, I could not help admiring the peaceful beauty 
of the scena Far in the distance were the sterile cliffs 
of Nova Scotia and the tumbling surges of the Atlantic, 
while on three sides we were surrounded by land so low 
that the trees upon it seemed almost growing out of the 
water. The soil was the rich red of Devonshire, the trees 
were of a brilliant green, and sylvan lawns ran up amongst 
them. The light canoes of the aborigines glided grace- 
fully on the water, or lay high and dry on the beach ; 


and two or three miles ahead the spires and houses of the 
capital of the island lent additional cheerfulness to the 

We were speedily moored at the wharf, and my cousins, 
after an absence of eight years, were anxiously looking 
round for some familiar faces among the throng on the 
shore. They had purposely avoided giving any intima- 
tion to their parents of their intended arrival, lest any- 
thing should occur to prevent the visit ; therefore they 
were entirely unexpected. But, led by the true instinct of 
natural affection, they were speedily recognised by those 
of their relatives who were on the wharf, and many a 
joyful meeting followed which must amply have com- 
pensated for the dreary separation of years. 

It was in an old-English looking, red brick mansion, 
encircled by plantations of thriving firs — warmly welcomed 
by relations whom I had never seen, for the sake of those 
who had been my long-tried friends — surrounded by 
hearts rejoicing in the blessings of unexpected re-union, 
and by faces radiant with affection and happiness — that 
I spent my first evening in the "Garden of British 



Popular ignorance — The garden island — Summer and winter con- 
trasted — A wooden capital — Island politics^ and their consequences 

— Gk}8sip — *' Blowin-time " — Religion and the clergy — The ser- 
vant nuisance — Colonial society — An evening party — An island 
premier — Agrarian outrage — A visit to the Indians — The pipe of 
peace — An Indian coquette — Country hospitality — A missionary 

— A novel mode of lobster-fishing — Uncivilised life — Far away in 
the woods — Starvation and dishonesty — An old Highlander and a 
Highland welcome — Hopes for the future. 

I WAS showing a collection of autogi*aphs to a gentleman 
at a party in a well-known Canadian city, when the 
volume opened upon the majestic signature of Cromwell. 
I paused as I pointed to it, expecting a hurst of enthu- 
siasm. ^^ Who is CromwellV^ he asked; an ignorance 
which I should have helieved counterfeit had it not been 
too painfully and obviously genuine. 

A yeoman friend in England, on being told that I had 
arrived safely at Boston, after encountering great danger 
in a gale, " reckoned that it was somewhere down in Lin- 

With these instances of ignorance, and many more 
which I could name, fresh in my recollection, I am not at 
all surprised that few persons should be acquainted with 
the locality of a spot of earth so comparatively obscure as 
Prince Edward Island. When I named my destination 
to my friends prior to my departure from England, it was 


supposed by some that I was going to the Pacific, and 
by others that I was going to the north-west coast of 
America, while one or two, on consulting their maps, 
found no such island indicated in the part of the ocean 
where I described it to be placed. 

Now, Prince Edward Island is the abode of seventy 
thousand human beings. It had a garrison, though now 
the loyalty of its inhabitants is considered a sufficient 
protection. It has a Governor, a House of Assembly, a 
Legislative Council, and a Constitution. It has a wooden 
Government House, and a stone Province Building. It 
has a town of six thousand people, and an extensive ship- 
building trade, and, lastly, it has a prime minister. As it 
has not been tourist-ridden, like Canada or the States, and 
is a terra incognita to many who are tolerably familiar with 
the rest of our North American possessions, I must briefly 
describe it, tliough I am neither writing a guide-book nor 
an emigrant's directory. 

This island was discovered by Sebastian Cabot in 1497, 
and more than two centuries afterwards received the name 
of St. John, by which it is still designated in old maps. 
It received the name of Prince Edward Island in com- 
pliment to the illustrious father of our Queen, who 
bestowed great attention upon it. It has been the arena 
of numerous conflicts during the endless wars between the 
French and English. Its aboriginal inhabitants have 
here, as in other places, melted away before the whites. 
About three hundred remain, earning a scanty living by 
shooting and fishing, and profess the Romish faith. 

This island is 140 miles in length, and at its widest 
part 34 in breadth. It is intersected by creeks; every 


part of its coast is indented by the fierce flood of the Gulf 
of St. Lawrence, and no part of it is more than nine miles 
distant from some arm of the sea. It bears the name 
throughout the British provinces of the "Garden of British 
America." That this title has been justly bestowed, none 
who have erer visited it in summer will deny* 

While Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the banks of 
the St. Lawrence are brown, even where most fertile, this 
island is clothed in brilliant green. I suppose that the 
most elevated land in it is less than 400 feet above the 
level of the sea ; there is not a rock in any part of it, and 
the stones which may be very occasionally picked up in 
the recesses of the forest cause much speculation in the 
minds of the curious and scientific. The features of this 
country are as soft as the soil. The land is everywhere 
gently undulating, and, while anything like a hill is 
unknown, it has been difficult to find a piece of ground 
sufficiently level for a cricket-field. The north shore is 
extremely pretty ; it has small villages, green clearings, 
fine harbours, with the trees growing down to the water's 
edge, and shady streams. 

The land is very suitable for agricultural purposes, as 
also for the rearing of sheep ; but the island is totally 
destitute of mineral wealth. It is highly favoured in 
climate. The intense heat of a North American summer 
is here tempered by a cool sea-breeze ; fogs are almost 
unknown^ and the air is dry and bracing. Instances of 
longevity are very common ; fever and consumption are 
seldom met with, and the cholera has never visited its 
shores. Wages _are high, and employment abundant ; 
land is cheap and tolerably productive; but though a 


competence may always be obtained, I never heard of 
any one becoming rich through agricultural pursuits. 
Shipbuilding is the great trade of the islaud, and the 
most profitable one. Everywhere, even twenty miles 
inland, and up among the woods, ships may be seen in 
course of construction. These vessels are sold in England 
and in the neighbouring colonies ; but year by year, as its 
trade increases, the island requires a greater number for 
its own use. 

In summer, the island is a very agreeable residence ; 
the sandy roads are passable, and it has a bi-weekly 
communication with the neighbouring continent. Shooting 
and fishing may be enjoyed in abundance, and the Indians 
are always ready to lend assistance in these sports. Bears, 
which used to be a great attraction to the more adven- 
turous class of sportsmen, are, however, rapidly disap- 

In winter, I cannot conceive a more dull, cheerless, and 
desolate place than Prince Edward Island. About the 
beginning of December steam communication with the 
continent ceases, and those who are leaving the island 
hurry their departure. Large stocks of fuel are laid in, 
the harbour is deserted by the shipping, and all out-door 
occupations gradually cease. Before Christmas the frost 
commences, the snow frequently lies six feet deep, and 
soon the harbours and the adjacent ocean freeze, and the 
island is literally "locked in regions of thick-ribbed ice " 
for six long months. Once a fortnight during the winter 
an ice-boat crosses Northumberland Strait, at great 
hazard, where it is only nine miles wide, conveying the 
English mail ', but sometimes all the circumstances are 


not favourable^ and the letters are delayed for a month — 
the poor islanders bemg locked meanwhile in their ice- 
bound prison, ignorant of the events which may be con- 
vulsing the world. Charlotte Town, the capital of the 
island and the seat of government, is very prettily 
situated on a capacious harbour, which toas defended by 
several heavy guns. It is a town of shingles, but looks 
very well from the sea. With the exception of Quebec^ 
it is considered the prettiest town in British America; but 
while Quebec is a city built on a rock, Charlotte Town 
closely borders upon a marsh, and its drainage has been 
very much neglected. 

There are several commons in the town, the grass of 
which is of a peculiarly brilliant green, and, as these 
are surrounded by houses, they give it a cheerful appear- 
ance. The houses are small, and the stores by no means 
pretentious. The streets are unlighted, and destitute of 
side walks ; there is not an attempt at paving, and the 
grips across them are something fearful. " Hold on " is 
a caution as frequently given as absolutely necessary. I 
have travelled over miles of corduroy road in a springless 
waggon, and in a lumber waggon, drawn by oxen, where 
there was no road at all, but I never experienced any- 
thing like the merciless joint-dislocating jolting which I 
met with in Charlotte Town. This island metropolis has 
two or three weekly papers of opposite sides in politics, 
which vie with each other in gross personalities and scur- 
rilous abuse. 

The colony has " responsible government," a Governor, 
a Legislative Council, and a House of Assembly, and 
storms in politics are not at all unfrequent. The members 


of the Lower House are elected by nearly universal suf- 
frage, and it is considered necessary that the "Premier" 
should have a majority in it. This House is said to be 
on a par with Irish poor-law guardian meetings for low 
personalities and vehement vituperation. 

The genius of Discord must look complacently on this 
land. Politics have been a fruitful source of quarrels, 
misrepresentation, alienation, and division. The opposi- 
tion parties are locally designated " matchers " and 
^^ marlers^^^ and no love is lost between the two. It is 
broadly aflSrmed that half the people on the island do not 
speak to the other half. And, worse than all, religious 
differences have been brought up as engines wherewith to 
wreak political animosities. I never saw a community in 
which people appeared to hate each other so cordially. 
The flimsy veil of etiquette does not conceal the pointed 
sneer, the malicious inuendo, the malignant backbiting, 
and the unfounded slander. Some of the forms of society 
are observed in the island — that extreme of civilisation 
vulgarly called " cutting " is common ; morning calls are 
punctiliously paid and returned, and there are occa- 
sional balls and tea-parties. Quebec is described as 
being the hottest and coldest town in the world, Paris 
the gayest, London the richest ; but I should think that 
Charlotte Town may bear away the palm for being the 
most gossiping. 

There is a general and daily flitting about of its 
inhabitants after news of their neighbours — ^all that is said 
and done within a three-mile circle is reported, and, of 
course, a great deal of what has neither been said nor 
done. There are certain people whose business it is to 


make mischief, and mischief-makiug is a calling in which 
it does not require much wit tx) be successful. 

The inhabitants are a sturdy race, more than one-half 
of them being of Scotch descent. They are prevented 
from attaining settled business-like habits by the long 
winter, which puts a stop to all out-door employment. 
This period, when amusement is the only thing thought 
ofj is called in the colonies " blowin-time." All the 
country is covered with snow, and the inhabitants 
have nothing to do but sleigh about, play ball on the 
ice, drive the young ladies to quilting frolics and snow 
picnics, drink brandy-and-water, and play at whist for 
sixpenny points. 

The further you go from Charlotte Town, the more 
primitive and hospitable the people become ; they warmly 
welcome a stranger, and seem happy, moral, and coa^ 
tented. This island is the only place in the New World 
where I met with any who believed in the supernatural. 
One evening I had been telling some very harmless ghost 
stories to a party by moonlight, and one of my auditors, 
a very clever girl, fancied during the night that she saw 
something stirring in her bed-room. In the idea that the 
ghost would attack her head rather than her feet, she tied 
up her feet in her bonnet-de-nuit^ put them upon the 
pillow, and her head under the quilt — a novel way of 
cheating a spiritual visitant. 

There are numerous religious denominations in the 
colony, all enjoying the same privileges, or the absence of 
any. I am not acquainted with the number belonging to 
each, but would suppose the Roman Catholics to be the 
most dominant, from the way in which their church towers 


over the whole town. There are about eleven Episcopa- 
lian clergymen, overworked and underpaid. Most of 
these are under the entire control of the Bishop of Nova 
Scotia, and are removable at his will and pleasure. This 
will Bishop Binney exercises in a very capricious and 
arbitrary nuinner. 

Some of these clergymen are very excellent and labo^ 
rious men. I may particularise Dr. Jenkins, for many 
years chief minister of Charlotte Town, whose piety, 
learning, and Christian spirit would render him an orna- 
ment to the Church of England in any locality. Even 
among the clergy, some things might seem rather peculiar 
to a person fresh from England. A clergyman coming to 
a pause in his sermon, one of his auditors from the floor 
called up " Propitiation ; " the preacher thanked him, 
took the word, and went on with his discourse. 

The diflSculty of procuring servants, which is felt from 
the Government House downwards, is one of the great 
objections to this colony. The few there are know nothing 
of any individual department of work, — for instance, there 
are neither cooks nor housemaids, they are strictly 
^' kelps,'' — the mistress being expected to take more than 
her fair share of the work. They come in and go out 
when they please, and, if anything dissatisfies them, they 
ask for their wages, and depart the same day, in the 
certainty that their labour will command a higher price 
in the United States. It is not an uncommon thing for 
a gentleman to be obliged to do the work of gardener, 
errand-boy, and groom. A servant left at an hour's 
notice, saying, " she had never been so insulted before," 
because her master requested her to put on shoes when 


she waited at table ; and a gentleman was obliged to lie 
in bed because his servant had taken all his shirts to the 
wash, and had left them while she went to a " frolic " with 
her lover. 

The upper class of society in the island is rather ex- 
clusive, but it is difficult to say what qualification entitles 
a man to be received into "society." The entrSe at 
Government House is not sufficient; but a uniform is 
powerful, and wealth is omnipotent. The present go- 
vernor, Mr. Dominick Daly, is a man of great suavity of 
manner. He has a large amount of finesse^ which is 
needful in a colony where people like the supposition that 
they govern themselves, but where it is absolutely neces- 
sary that a firm hand should hold the reins. The island 
is prospering under its new form of " responsible govern- 
ment ;" its revenue is increasing ; it is out of debt ; and 
Mr. Daly, whose tenure of power has been very short, will 
without doubt considerably develop its resources. Mrs. 
Daly is an invalid, but her kindness makes her deservedly 
popular, together with her amiable and afiable daughters, 
the elder of whom is one of the most beautiful girls whom 
I saw in the colonies. 

I remained six weeks in this island, being detained by 
the cholera, which was ravaging Canada and the States. 
I spent the greater part of this time at the house of 
Captain Swabey, a near relation of my father's, at 
whose house I received every hospitality and kindness. 
Captain Swabey is one of the most influential inhabitants 
of the island, as, since the withdrawal of the troops, the 
direction of its defences has been intrusted to him, in con- 
sideration of his long experience in active service. He 


served in the land forces which assisted Nelson at the 
siege of Copenhagen. He afterwards served with dis- 
tinction through the Peninsular war, and, after receiving a 
ball in the knee at Vittoria, closed his military career at 
the battle of Waterloo. It is not a little singular that 
Mr. Hensley, another of the principal inhabitants, and a 
near neighbour of Captain Swabey's, fought at Copen- 
hagen under Lord Nelson, where part of his cheek-bone 
was shot away. 

While I was there, the governor gave his first party, to 
which, as a necessary matter of etiquette, all who had 
left cards at Government House were invited. I was told 
that I should not see such a curious mixture anywhere 
else, either in the States or in the colonies. There were 
about a hundred and fifty persons present, including 
all the officers of the garrison and customs, and the 
members of the government. The "prime minister," the 
Hon. George Coles, whose name is already well known 
in the colonies, was there in all the novel glories of office 
and " red-tapeism." 

I cannot say that this gentleman looked at all care- 
worn ; indeed the cares of office, even in England, have 
ceased to be onerous, if one may judge from the ease with 
which a premier of seventy performs upon the parliamentary 
stage; but Mr. Coles looked particularly the reverse. 
He is justified in his complacent appearance, for he has a 
majority in the house, a requisite scarcely deemed essential 
in England, and the finances of the colony are flourishing 
under his administration. He is a self-made and self- 
educated man, and by his own energy, industry, and per- 
severance, has raised himself to the position which he now 


holds ; and if his manners have not all the finish of polite 
society, and if he does sometimes say ^'Me and the 
governor," his energy is not less to be admired. 

Another member of the goremment appeared in a 
yellow waistcoat and brown frock-coat ; but where there 
were a great many persons of an inferior class it was only 
surprising that there should be so few inaccuracies either 
in dress or deportment. There were some very pretty 
women, and almost all were dressed with simplicity and 
good taste. The island does not aJSTord a band, but a 
pianist and violinist played most perseveringly, and the 
amusements were kept up with untiring spirit till four 
in the morning. 

The governor and his family behaved most afiably to 
their guests, and I was glad to obsei*ve that in such a very 
mixed company not the slightest vulgarity of manner was 

It may be remarked, however, that society is not on so 
safe a footing as in England. Such things as duels, but 
of a very bloodless nature, have been known: people 
occasionally horsewhip and kick each other; and if a 
gentleman indulges in the pastime of breaking the windows 
of another gentleman, he receives a bullet for his pains. 
Some time ago, a gentleman connected with a noble 
family in Scotland, emigrated to the island with a large 
number of his countrymen, to whom he promised advan- 
tageous arrangements with regard to land. He was known 
by the name of Tracadie. After his tenants had made a 
large outlay upon their farms, Tracadie did not fulfil his 
agreements, and the dissatisfaction soon broke forth into 
open outrage. 


Conspiracies were formed against him, his cows and 
carts were destroyed, and night after night the country 
was lighted by the flames of liis bams and mills. At 
length he gave loaded muskets to some of his farm-boys, 
telling them to shoot any one they saw upon his premises 
after dusk. The same evening he went into his orchard, 
and was standing with his watch in his hand waiting to set 
it by the evening gun, when the boys fired, and he fell 
severely wounded. When he recovered from this, he was 
riding out one evening, when he was shot through the hat 
and hip by men on each side of the road, and fell welter- 
ing in blood. So detested was he, that several persons 
passed by without rendering him any assistance. At 
length one of his own tenantry, coming by, took him into 
Charlotte Town in a cart, but was obliged shortly after- 
wards to leave the island, to escape from the vengeance 
which would have overtaken the succourer of a tyrant. 
Tracadie was shot at five or six different times. Shortly 
after my arrival in the island, he went to place his daughter 
in a convent at Quebec, and died there of the cholera. 

One day, with a party of youthful friends, I crossed the 
Hillsboro' Creek, to visit the Indians. We had a large 
heavy boat, with cumbrous oars, very ill balanced, and a 
most inefficient crew, two of them being boys either very 
idle or very ignorant, and, as they kept tumbling back- 
wards over the thwarts, one gentleman and I were left to 
do all the work On our way we came upon an Indian 
in a bark canoe, and spent much of our strength in an in- 
effectual race with him, succeeding in nothing but in 
getting aground. We had very great difficulty in landing. 


and two pretty squaws indulged in hearty laughter at our 
numerous failures. 

After scrambling through a wood, we came upon an 
Indian village, consisting of fifteen wigwams. These are 
made of poles, tied together at the upper end, and are 
thatched with large pieces of birch-bark. A hole is 
always lefk at the top to let out the smoke, and the whole 
space occupied by this primitive dwelling is not larger 
than a large circular dining-table. Large fierce dogs, 
and uncouth, terrified-looking, lank-haired children, very 
scantily clothed, abounded by these abodes. We went 
into one, crawling through an aperture in the bark. A 
fire was burning in the middle, over which was suspended 
a kettle of fish. The wigwam was full of men and squaws, 
and babies, or "papooses," tightly strapped into little 
trays of wood. Some were waking, others sleeping, but 
none were employed, though in several of the camps I saw 
the materials for baskets and bead-work. The eyes of all 
were magnificent, and the young women very handsome, 
their dark complexions and splendid hair being in many 
instances set off by a scarlet handkerchief thrown loosely 
round the head. 

We braved the ferocity of numerous dogs, and looked 
into eight of these abodes ; Mr. Kenjins, from the kind 
use he makes of his medical knowledge, being a ^eat 
favourite with the Indians, particularly with the young 
squaws, who seemed thoroughly to understand all the arts 
of coquetry. We were going into one wigwam when a 
surly old man opposed our entrance, holding out a cala- 
bash, vociferous voices from the interior calling out, 


"Ninepence, ninepencel" The memory of Uncas and 
Magxm rose before me, and I sighed over the degeneracy 
of the race. These people are mendicant and loquacious, 
When you go in, they begin a list of things which they 
want — blankets, powder, tobacco, &c. ; always concluding 
with, "Tea, for God's sake I" for they have renounced 
the worship of the Great Spirit for a corrupted form of 
Christianity. . 

We were received in one camp by two very handsome x - 
h t squaws, mother and daughter, who spoke broken English, ^***^^ 
^^^ and were very neat and clean. The floor was thickly ^^'^^ 
*- ^ strewn with the young shoots of the var, and we sat down^X*^fc .f 
with them for half an hour. The younger squaw, a girl 
of sixteen, was very handsome and coquettish. She had 
a beautiful cap, worked in beads, which she would not put 
* on at the request of any of the ladies ; but directly Mr. 
Kenjins hinted a wish to that eflfect, she placed it 
coquettishly on her head, and certainly looked most be- 
witching. Though only sixteen, she had been married 
two years, and had recently lost her twins. Mr. Kenjins 
asked her the meaning of an Indian phrase. She replied 
in broken English, " AVhat one little boy say to one little 
> ^ girl : I love y ou." *' I suppose your husband said so to 
vou before you were married ? " Yes, and he say so 
now," she replied, and both she and her mother laughed 
long and uncontrollably. These Indians retain few of 
their ancient characteristics, except their dark complexions 
and their comfortless nomade way of living. They are 
not represented in the Legislative Assembly. 

Very different are the Indians of Central America, the 
fierce Sioux, Comanches, and Blackfeet. In Canada 



X t- Jce^JE ^j^c*. tco " 


West I saw a race differing in appearance from the Mo-* 
hawks and Mic-Macs, and retaining to a certain extent 
their ancient customs. Among these tribes I entered a 
wigwam, and was received in sullen silence. I seated 
myself on the floor with about eight Indians ; still not a 
word was spoken. A short pipe was then lighted and 
offered to me. I took, as previously directed, a few 
whiffs of the fragrant weed, and then the pipe was passed 
round the circle, after which tlie oldest man present began 
to speak.* This pipe is the celebrated calumet, or pipe of 
peace, and it is considered even among the fiercest tribes 
as a sacred obligation. 

A week before I left Prince Edward Island I went for 
a tour of five days in the north-west of the island with 
Mr. and Miss Kenjins. This was a delightful change, an 
uninterrupted stream of novelty and enjoyment. It was a 
relief from Charlotte Town, with its gossiping morning 
calls, its malicious stories, its political puerilities, its end- 
less discussions on servants, turnips, and plovers ; it was 
a bound into a region of genuine kindness and primitive 

We left Charlotte Town early on a brilliant morning, in 
a light waggon, suitably attired for ^^ roughing it in the 
bush." Our wardrobes, a draught-board, and a number 
of books (which we never read), were packed into a carpet- 
bag of most diminutive proportions. We took large 
buffalo robes with us, in case we should not be able to pro- 

* **Why has our white sister visited the wigwams of her red 
brethren ?" was the salutation with which they broke silence— a ques- 
tion rather difficult to answer. 


cure a better shelter for the night than a bam. We were 
for the time being perfectly congenial, and determined on 
thoroughly enjoying ourselves. We sang, and rowed, 
and fished, and laughed, and made others laugh, and 
were perfectly happy, never knowing and scarcely caring 
where we should obtain shelter for the night. Our first 
day's dinner was some cold meat and bread, eaten in a 
wood, our horse eating his oats by our side ; and we made 
drinking-cups, in Indian fashion, of birch-tree bark — 
cups of Tantalus, properly speaking, for very little of the 
water reached our lips. While engaged in drawing some 
from a stream, the branch on which I leaned gave way, 
and I fell into the water, a mishap which amused my 
companions so much that they could not help me out. 

After a journey of thirty miles our further course was 
stopped by a wide river, with low wooded hills and pro- 
montories, but there was no ferry-boat, so, putting up our 
horse in a settler's bam, we sat on the beach till a cranky, 
leaky boat, covered with fish-scales, was with some diflS- 
culty launched, and a man took us across the beautiful 
stream. This kindly individual came for us again the 
next morning, and would accept nothing but our thanks 
for his trouble. The settler in whose barn we had left our 
horse fed him well with oats, and was equally generous. 
The people in this part of the island are principally emi- 
grants from the north of Scotland, who thus carry High- 
land hospitality with them to their distant homes. After 
a long walk through a wood, we came upon a little church, 
with a small house near it, and craved a night's hos- 
pitality. The church was one of those strongholds of 
religion and loyalty which I rejoice to see in the colonies. 

D 2 


There, Sabbath after Sabbath, the inhabitants of this 
peaceful locality worship in the pure faith of their fore- 
fathers: here, when "life's fitful fever" is over, they 
sleep in the hallowed ground around these sacred walls. 
Nor could a more peacefiil resting-place be desired : from 
the graveyard one could catch distant glimpses of the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence, and tall pine-trees flung their dark 
shadows over the low green graves. 

Leaving our friends in the house, we went down to a 
small creek running up into the woods, the most formid- 
able " longer fences'^ not intercepting our progress. After 
some ineffectual attempts to gain possession of a log- 
canoe, we launched a leaky boat, and went out towards 
thq sea. The purple beams of the setting sun fell upon 
the- dark pine woods, and lay in long lines upon the 
calm waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, It was a glo- 
rious evening, and the scene was among the fairest which 
I saw in the New World. On our return we found our 
host, the missionary, returned from his walk of twenty- 
two miles, and a repast of tea, wheaten scones, raspberries, 
and cream, awaited us. This good man left England 
twenty-five years ago, and lived for twenty in one of the 
most desolate parte of Newfoundland. Yet he has re- 
tained his vivid interest in England, and kept us up till a 
late hour talking over its church and people. Contented 
in his isolated position, which is not without its severe 
hardships, this good missionary pursues his useful course 
unnoticed by the world as it bustles along ; his sole earthly 
wish seems to be that he may return to England to die. 

The next morning at seven we left his humble home, 
where such hospitality had awaited us. and he accompanied 


US to the river. He returned to his honourable work — I 
shortly afterwards went to the United States — another 
of the party is with the Turkish army in the Crimea — and 
the youngest is married in a distant land. For several 
hours we passed through lovely scenery, on one of the 
loveliest mornings I ever saw. We stopped at the hut of 
an old Highland woman, who was " terribly glad'^ to see 
us, and gave us some milk ; and we came up with a sturdy 
little barefooted urchin of eight years old, carrying a 
basket. " What's your name ?" we asked. " Mr. 
Crozier,'^ was the bold and complacent reply. 

At noon we reached St. Eleanor's, rather a large vil- 
lage, where we met with great hospitality for two days at 
the house of a keeper of a small store, who had married 
the lively and accomplished daughter of an English cler- 
gyman. The two Irish servant-girls were ill, but she 
said she should be delighted to receive us if we would 
help her to do the household work. The same afternoon 
we drove to the house of a shipbuilder at a little hamlet 
called Greenshore, and went out lobster-fishing in his 
beautiful boat. The way of fishing for these creatures 
was a novel one to me, but so easy that a mere novice 
may be very successful. We tied sijiks to mackerel, and 
let them down in six fathoms water. We gently raised 
them now and then, and, if we felt anything pulling the 
bait, raised it slowly up. Gently, gently, or the fish sus- 
pects foul play; but soon, just under the surface, I saw 
an immense lobster, and one of the gentlemen caught it 
by the tail and threw it into the boat. We fished for an 
hour, and caught fifteen of these esteemed creatures, 
which we took to the house in a wheelbarrow. At night 


we drove to St. Eleanor's, taking some of our spoil with 
us, and immediately adjourned to the kitchen, a large, 
unfinished place built of logs, with a clay floor and huge 
smoke-st-ained rafters. We sat by a large stove in the 
centre, and looked as if we had never known civilised life. 
Miss Kenjins and I sat on either side of the fireplace in 
broad-brimmed straw hats, Mrs. Maccallummore in front, 
warming the feet of the unhappy baby, who had been a 
passive spectator of the fishing; the three gentlemen 
stood round in easy attitudes, these, be it remembered, 
holding glasses of brandy and water ; and the two invalid 
servants stood behind, occasionally uttering suppressed 
shrieks as Mr. Oppe took one out of a heap of lobsters 
and threw it into a caldron of boiling water on the stove. 
This strange scene was illuminated by a blazing pine- 
knot. Mr. Kenjins laughingly reminded me of the ele- 
gant drawing-room in which he last saw me in England — 
" Look on this picture and on that." 

On the Sunday we crossed the Grand River, on a day 
so stormy that the ferryman would not take the " scow " 
across. We rowed ourselves over in a crazy boat, which 
seemed about to fill and sink when we got to the middle 
of the river, and attended service at Port Hill, one of the 
most desolate-looking places I ever saw. We saw Lenox 
Island, where on St. Ann's day all the island Indians 
meet and go through ceremonies with the Romish priests. 

We remained for part of the next day with our hospi- 
table friends at St. Eleanor's, and set out on an exploring 
expedition in search of a spring which Mr. K. remem- 
bered in his childish days. We went down to a lonely 
cabin to make inquiries, and were told that ^' none but 


the old people knew of it — it was far away in the woods." 
Here was mystery ; so, leaving the waggon, into the woods 
we went to seek for it, and far away in the woods we found 
it, and now others besides the " old people" know of it. 

We struck into the forest, an old, untrodden forest, 
where generations of trees had rotted away, and strange 
flowers and lichens grew, and bats flew past us in the 
artificial darkness ; and there were snakes too, ugly 
spotted things, which hissed at us, and put out their 
double tongues^ and then coiled themselves away in the 
dim recesses of the forest. But on we went, climbing 
with difficulty over prostrate firs, or breaking through 
matted juniper, and still the spring was not, though we 
were " far away in the woods.'^ But still we climbed on, 
through swamp and jungle, till we tore our dresses to 
pieces, and our hats got pulled ofi^ in a tree and some of 
our hair with them ; but at last we reached the spring. It 
was such a scene as one might have dreamed of in some 
forest in a fabulous Elysium. It was a large, deep basin 
of pure white sand, covered with clear water, and seven 
powerful springs, each about a foot high, rose frour it ; 
and trees had fallen over it, and were covered with bright 
green moss, and others bent over it ready to fall ; and 
above them the tall hemlocks shut out the light, except 
where a few stray beams glittered on the pure transparent 

And here it lay in lonely beauty, as it had done for 
centuries, probably known only to the old people and to 
the wandering Indians. In enterprising England a town 
would have been built round it, and we should have had 
cheap excursions to the " Baths of St. Eleanor's." 


In the evening we went to the house of Mr. Oppe at 
Bedeque, but not finding him at home we presumed on 
colonial hospitality so far as to put our horse in the stable 
and unpack our clothes ; and when Mr. Oppe returned 
he found us playing at draughts, and joined us in a hearty 
laugh at our coolness. Our fifth and last day's journey 
was a long one of forty milej, yet near Cape Traverse 
our horse ran away down a steep hill, and across a long 
wooden bridge without a parapet, thereby placing our 
lives in imminent jeopardy. After travelling for several 
hours we came to a lone iiouse, where we hoped to get 
some refreshment both for ourselves and the horse, but 
found the house locked^ a remarkable fact, as in this island 
robbery is almost unknown. We were quite exhausted 
with hunger, and our hearts sank when we found every 
door and window closed. We then, as an act of mercy, 
stole a sheaf of oats from a neighbouring field, and cut the 
ears off for the horse with our penknives, after which we, 
in absolute hunger, ate as many grains as we could clean 
from the husks, and some fern, which we found very bitter. 
We looked very much like a group of vagrants sitting 
by the road-side, the possession of the oats being disputed 
with us by five lean pigs. When after another hour we 
really succeeded in getting something more suitable for 
human beings, we ate like famished creatures. 

While I was walking up a long hill, I passed a neat 
cabin in a garden of pumpkins, placed in a situation ap- 
parently chosen from its extreme picturesqueness. Seeing 
an old man, in a suit of grey frieze and a blue bonnet, 
standing at the gate, I addressed him with the words, 
" Cia mar thasibh an diuglu^^ " Slan gu robh math 


agaibh. Cia mar thasibh anfein^^ * was the delighted reply, 
accompanied with a hearty shake of both hands. He was 
from Snizorty in the Isle of Skye, and, though he had 
attained competence in the land of his adoption, he 
mourned the ab^nce of his native heather. He asked 
me the usual Highland question, " Tell me the news ;" 
and I told him all that I could recollect of those with 
whom he was familiar. He spoke of the Cuchullin Hills, 
and the stern beauty of Loch Corruisk, with tears in his 
eyes. " Ah," he said, " I have no wish but to see them 
once again. Who is the lady with you — the lily ?" he 
asked, for he spoke English imperfectly, and preferred his 
own poetical tongue. " May your path be always bright, 
lady I" he said, as he shook my hand warmly at parting ; 
'^ and ye'll come and see me when ye come again, and 
bring me tales from the old country." The simple wish 
of Donnuil Dhu has often recurred to me in the midst of 
gayer scenes and companions. It brought to mind me- 
mories of many a hearty welcome received in the old 
man's Highland home, and of those whose eyes were then 
looking upon the Cuchullin Hills. 

After this expedition, where so much kindness had been 
experienced, Charlotte Town did not appear more delight- 
ful than before, and, though sorry to take leave of many 
kind relatives and friends, I was glad that only one more 
day remained to me in the island. 

I cordially wish its people every prosperity. They are 
loyal, moral, and independent, and their sympathies with 

* " How are you to-day V* " Very well, thank you, I hope you 
are well." 

D 3 


England have lately been evidenced by their liberal con- 
tributions to the Patriotic Fund. When their trade and 
commerce shall have been extended, and when a more 
suitable plan has been adopted for the support of reli- 
gion ; when large portions of waste land have been 
brought under cultivation, and local resources have been 
farther developed, people will be too much occupied with 
their own affairs to busy themselves, as now, either with 
the affairs of others, or with the puerile politics of so 
small a community ; and then the island will deserve the 
title which has been bestowed on it, " The Garden of 
British America^ 



From St. George's Cross to the Stars and Stripes — Unpunctuality — 
Incompetence — A wretched night — Colonial curiosity — The 
fashions — A night in a buflfalo robe — A stage jomney — A queer 
character — Politics — Chemistry — Mathematics — Kotten bridges 
— A midnight arrival — Colonial ignorance — Yankee conceit — What 
ten-horse power chaps can do — The pestilence — The city on the 
rock — New Brunswick — Steamboat peculiarities — Going ahead 
in the eating line — A storm — Stepping ashore. 

The ravages of the cholera having in some degree ceased, 
I left Prince Edward Island for the United States, and 
decided to endure the delays and inconveniences of the 
intercolonial route for the purpose of seeing something 
of New Brunswick on my way to Boston. 

The journey from the island to the States is in itself 
by DO means an easy one, and is rendered still more diffi- 
cult by the want of arrangement on the part of those who 
conduct the transit of travellers. The inhabitants of our 
eastern colonies do not understand the value of time, 
consequently the uncertain arrivals and departures of the 
Lady Le Marchard furnish matter for numerous specu- 
lations. From some cifcumstances which had occurred 
within my knowledge — oBe being that the captain of this 
steamer \\eA forgotten to call for the continental mails — 
I did not attach much importance to the various times 
which were fixed definitely for her sailing between the 
hours of four and ten. 

A cloudy, gloomy night had succeeded to the bright 


blaze of an August day, and midnight was fast approach- 
ing before the signal-bell rang. Two friends accom- 
'panied me as far as Bedeque, and, besides the gentleman 
under whose escort I was to travel, there were twelve 
island gentlemen and two ladies, all supposed to be bound, 
like myself, for Boston. All separate individualities were, 
however, lost amid the confusion of bear -skin and water- 
proof coats and the impenetrable darkness which brooded 
both on wharf and steamer. 

An amusing scene of bungling marked our departure 
from Charlotte Town. The captain, a sturdy old North- 
umbrian seaman, thoroughly understood his business ; 
but the owners of the ship compelled him to share its 
management with a very pertinacious pilot, and the con- 
flicting orders given, and the want of harmony in the 
actions produced, gave rise to many reflections on the 
evils of divided responsibility. On the night in question 
some mysterious spell seemed to bind us to the shores of 
Prince Edward Island. In an attempt to get the steamer 
off she ran stern foremost upon the bowsprit of a 
schooner, then broke one of the piles of the wharf to 
pieces, crushing her fender to atoms at the same time. 
Some persons on the pier, compassionating our helpless- 
ness, attempted to stave the ship off with long poles, but 
this well-meant attempt failed, as did several others, until 
some one suggested to the captain the very simple expe- 
dient of working the engines, when the steamer moved 

soon in the dark and murky atmosphere the few lights of 
Charlotte Town ceased to be visible. 
The compass was then required, but the matches in the 


ship hung fire ; and when a passenger at length produced 
a light, it was discovered that the lamp in the binnacle 
was without that essential article, oil. Meanwhile no one 
had ascertained what had caused the heavy smash at the 
outset, and certain timid persons, in the idea that a hole 
had been knocked in the ship's side, were in continual 
apprehension that she would fill and sink. To drown all 
such gloomy anticipations we sang several songs, among 
others the appropriate one, " Isle of Beauty, fare thee 
well." The voices rapidly grew more faint and spiritless 
as we stood farther out to sea, a failure which might have 
been attributed to grief at leaving old friends on the 
chance of making new ones, had not hints and questions 
been speedily interchanged, such as " Do you like the 
sea ? " " Are you feeling comfortable ? " " Would you 
prefer being downstairs?" — and the like. 

Cloaks and pillows became more thought of than either 
songs or friends; indefinable sensations of melancholy 
rendered the merriest of the party silent, and a perfect 
deluge of rain rendered a retreat into the lower regions 
a precautionary measure which even the boldest were 
content to adopt. Below, in addition to the close over- 
powering odour of cabins without any ventilation, the 
smell of the bilge-water was sufficient in itself to produce 
nausea. The dark den called the ladies' cabin, which 
was by no means clean, was the sleeping abode of twelve 
people in various stages of discomfort, and two babies. 

I spent a very comfortless four hours, and went on deck 
at dawn to find a thick fog, a heavy rain, the boards 
swimming with soot and water, and one man cowering at 
the wheel. Most of the gentlemen, induced by the dis- 

62 BEDEQUE. Chap. IV. 

comfort to be early risers, came up before we reached 
Bedeque, iu oilskin caps, coats, and leggings, wearing 
that expression on their physiognomies peculiar to Anglo- 
Saxons in the rain. 

The K s wished me to go ashore here, but the 

skipper, who seemed to have been bom with an objection 
on the tip of his tongue, dissuaded me, as the rain was 
falling heavily, and the boat was a quarter full of water ; 
but as my clothes could not be more thoroughly satu- 
rated than they were, I landed i and even at the early 
hour of six we found a blazing log-fire in the ship- 
builder's hospitable bouse, and " Biddy,'' more the 
"Biddv" of an Irish novelist than a servant in real life, 
with her merry face, rich brogue, and potato-cakes, wel- 
comed us with many expressions of commiseration for our 
drowned plight. 

Who that has ever experienced the miseries of a 
voyage in a dirty, crowded, and ill-ventilated little 
steamer, has not also appreciated the pleasure of getting 
upon the land even for a few minutes ? The consciousness 
of the absence of suffocating sensations, and of the com- 
fort of a floor which does not move under the feet — of 
space, and cleanliness, and warmtb — soon produce an 
oblivion of all past miseries ; but if the voyage has not 
terminated^ and the relief is only temporary, it ^ihances 
the dread of future ones to such an extent that, when 
the captain came to the door to fetch me, I had to rouse 
all my energies before I could leave a blazing fire to 
battle witii cold and rain again. The offer of a cup of 
tea, which I would have supposed irresistible, would not 
induce him to permit me to finish my breakfast, but at 


length his better nature prevailed, and he consented to 
send the boat a second time. 

After allowing my pocket to be filled with " notions " 
by the generous " Biddy," I took leave of Miss Kenjins, 
who is good, clever, and agreeable enough to redeem the 
young-ladyhood of the island — nor was there enough of 
pleasant promise for the future to compensate for the 
regret 1 felt at leaving those who had received a stranger 
with such kindness and hospitality. 

I jumped into the boat^ where I stood with my feet in 
the water, in company with several gentlemen with drip- 
ping umbrellas, whose marked want of nasal development 
rendered Disraeli's description of " flat-nosed Franks " 
peculiarly appropriate. The rain poured down as rain 
never pours in England ; and under these very dispiriting 
circumstances I began my travels over the North Ameri- 
can continent. 

I went down to my miserable berth, and vainly tried to 
sleep, the discomfort and mismanagement which prevailed 
leading my thoughts by force of contmst to the order, 
cleanliness, and regularity of the inimitable line of 
steamers on the West Highland coast. Wherever the 
means of locomotion are concerned, these colonies are 
very far behind either the " old country " or their enter- 
prising neighbours in Canada ; and at present they do 
not appear conscious of the deficiencies which are sternly 
forced upon a traveller's observation. 

The prospect which appeared through the door was not 
calculated to please, as it consisted of a low, dark, and 
suffocating cabin, filled with men in suits of oilskin, 
existing in a steamy atmosphere, loaded with the odours 

64 SHEDIAC. Chap. IV. 

of india-rubber, tobacco, and spirits. The stewardess 
was ill, and my companions were groaning; unheeded 
babies were crying ; and the only pleasing feature in the 
scene was the gruff- old pilot, ubiquitous in kindness, ever 
performing some act of humanity. At one moment he 
was holding smelling-salts to some exhausted lady — at 
another carrying down a poor Irishwoman, who, though 
a steerage passenger, should not, he said, be left to perish 
from cold and hunger — and again, feeding some crying 
baby with bread and milk. My clothes were completely 
saturated, and his good offices probably saved me from a 
severe illness by covering me up with a blanket. 

At twelve we reached Shediac in New Brunswick, a 
place from which an enormous quantity of timber is 
annually exported. It is a village in a marsh, on a large 
bay surrounded by low wooded hills, and presents every 
appearance of unhealthiness. Huge square-sided ships, 
English, Dutch, and Austrian, were swallowing up rafts 
of pine which kept arriving from the shore. The water 
on this coast is shallow, and, though our steamer was 
not of more than 150 tons burthen, we were obliged to 
anchor nearly two miles from shore. 

Shediac had recently been visited by the cholera, and 
there was an infectious melancholy about its aspect, 
which, coupled with the fact that I was wet, cold, and 
weary, and with the discovery that my escort and I had 
not two ideas in common, had a tendency to produce any- 
thing but a lively frame of mind. 

We and our luggage were unceremoniously trundled 
into two large boats, some of the gentlemen, 1 am sorry 
to say, forcing their way into the first, in order to secure 


for themselves inside places in the stage. An American 
gentleman offered our rowers a dollar if they could gain 
the shore first, but they failed in doing so, and these very 
ungallant individuals hired the first waggon, and drove 
off at full speed to the Bend on the Petticodiac river, 
confident in the success of their scheme. What was their 
surprise and mortification to find that a gentleman of our 
party, who said he was *^ an old stager, and up to a dodge 
or two," had leisurely telegraphed from Shediac for nine 
places t Thus, on their arrival at the Bend, the delinquents 
found that, besides being both censured and laughed at 
for their selfishness, they had lost their places, their dinners, 
and their tempers. 

As we were rowing to shore, the captain told us that 
our worst difficulty was yet to come — ^an insuperable one, 
he added, to corpulent persons. There was no landing- 
place for boats, or indeed for anything, at low water, and 
we had to climb up a wharf ten feet high, formed of huge 
round logs placed a foot apart from each other, and 
slippery with sea-grass. It is really incredible that, at a 
place through which a considerable traffic passes, as being 
on the high road from Prince Edward Island to the 
United States, there should be a more inconvenient 
landing-place than I ever saw at a Highland village. 

Large, high, springless waggons were waiting for us on 
this wharf, which, after jolting us along a bad road for 
some distance, deposited us at the door of the inn at 
Shediac, where we came for the first time upon the track 
of the cholera, which had recently devastated all the 
places along our route. Here we had a substantial 
dinner of a very homely description, and, as in Nova. 


Scotia, a cup of tea sweetened with molasses was placed 
by each plate, instead of any intoxicating beverage. 

After this meal I went into the " house-room," or 
parlour, a general " rendezvous " of lady visitors, babies, 
unmannerly children, Irish servant-girls with tangled 
hair and bare feet, colonial gossips, " cute " urchins, and 
not unfrequently of those curious-looking beings, pauper- 
emigrant lads from Erin, who do a little of everything 
and nothing well, denominated stable-helps. 

Here I was assailed with a host of questions as to my 
country, objects in travelling, &c., and I speedily found 
that being from the *' old country "^ gave me a status in 
the eyes of the colonial ladies. I was requested to take 
off my cloak to display the pattern of my dress, and the 
performance of a very inefficient country modiste passed 
off as the latest Parisian fashion. My bonnet and cloak 
were subjected to a like scrutiny, and the pattern of the 
dress was taken, after which I was allowed to resume my 

Interrogatories about England followed, and I was 
asked if I had seen the queen ? The hostess " guessed " 
that she must be a " tall grand lady," and one pretty 
damsel that " she must dress beautiful, and always wear 
the crown out of doors." I am afraid that I rather less- 
ened the estimation in which our gracious liege lady was 
held by her subjects when I replied that she dressed very 
simply on ordinary occasions ; had never, I believed, worn 
the crown since her coronation, and was very little above 
my height. They inquired about the royal children, but 
evinced more curiosity about the princess-royal than with 
respect to the heir to the throne. 


One of the querists had been at Boston, but guessed 
that "London must be a pretty considerable touch 
higher." Most, however, could only compare it in idea 
with St. John, N. B., and listened with the greatest 
appearance of interest to the wonders which I narrated 
of the extent, wealth, and magnificence of the British 
metropolis. Altogether I was favourably impressed by 
their intelligence, and during my short journey through 
New Brunswick I formed a higher opinion of the unedu- 
cated settlers in this province than of those in Nova 
Scotia. They are very desirous to possess a reputation 
for being, to use their borrowed phraseology, " Knowing 
'coons, with their eye-teeth well cut." It would be well 
if they borrowed from their neighbours, the Yankees, 
something more useful than their slang, which renders 
the vernacular of the province rather repulsive. The 
spirit of enterprise, which has done so much for the ad- 
jacent state of Maine, has not yet displayed itself in New 
Brunswick iu the completion of any works of practical 
utility; and though the soil in many places has great 
natural capabilities, these have not been taken due 
advantage of. 

There are two modes of reaching St. John from 
Shediac, one by stage, the other by steamer; and the 
ladies and children, fearful of the fatigue of a land 
journey, remained to take the steamer from the Bend. 
I resolved to stay under Mr. Sandford's escort, and go 
by land, one of my objects being to see as much of the 
country as possible ; also my late experiences of colonial 
steamboat travelling had not been so agreeable as to 
induce me to brave the storms of the Bay of Fundy in a 


crazy yessel, which had been injured only two nights 
before by a collision in a race. On the night on which 
some of my companions sailed the Creoles engines were 
disabled, and she remained in a helpless condition for 
four hours, so I had a very fortunate escape. 

Taking leave of the amusingly miscellaneous party in 
the " house-room," I left Shediac for the Bend, in com- 
pany with seven persons from Prince Edward Island, in 
a waggon drawn by two ponies, and driven by the land- 
lord, a shrewd specimen of a colonist. 

This mode of transit deserves a passing notice. The 
waggon consisted of an oblong shallow wooden tray on 
four wheels ; on this were placed three boards resting on 
high unsteady props, and the machine was destitute of 
springs. The ponies were thin, shaggy, broken-kneed 
beings, under fourteen hands high, with harness of a most 
meagre description, and its cohesive qualities seemed very 
smalls if I might judge from the frequency with which 
the driver alighted to repair its parts with pieces of twine, 
with which his pockets were stored, I suppose in antici- 
pation of such occasions. 

These poor little animals took nearly four hours to go 
fourteen miles, and even this rate of progression was only 
kept up by the help of continual admonitions from a stout 
leather thong. 

It was a dismal evening, very Kke one in England dt 
the end of November — the air cold and damp — ^and I 
found the chill from wet clothes and an east wind any- 
thing but agreeable. The country also was extremely un- 
inviting, and I thought its aspect more gloomy than that of 
Nova Scotia. Sometimes we traversed swamps swarming 

Chap. IV. THE BEND. 69 

with bullfrogs, on corduroy roads which nearly jolted us 
out of the vehicle, then dreary levels abounding in spindly 
hacmetac, hemlock, and birch-trees ; next we would go 
down into a cedar-swamp alive with mosquitoes. Dense 
forests, impassable morasses, and sedgy streams always 
bounded the immediate prospect, and the clearings were 
few and far between. Nor was the conversation of my 
companions calculated to beguile a tedious journey; it 
was on ^^ snatchingsy^ ^^ snarlingSy^ and other puerilities 
of island politics, corn, sugar, and molasses. 

About dusk we reached the Bend, a dismal piece of 
alluvial swampy-looking land, drained by a wide, muddy 
river, called the Petticodiac, along the shore of which a 
considerable shipbuilding village is located. The tide 
here rises and falls twenty-four feet, and sixty at the 
mouth of tlie river, in the Bay of Fundy. It was a dis-* 
piriting view — acres of mud bare at low water, and miles 
of swamp covered with rank coarse grass, intersected by 
tide-streams, which are continually crossed on rotten 
wooden bridges without parapets. This place had re- 
cently been haunted by fever and cholera. 

As there was a slight incline into the village, our 
miserable ponies commenced a shambling trot, the noise 
of which brought numerous idlers to the inn-door to 
inquire the news. This inn was a rambling^ unpainted 
erection of wood, opposite to a " cash, credit, and barter 
store," kept by an enterprising Caledonian — an additional 
proof of the saying which ascribes ubiquity to " Scots, 
Newcastle grindstones, and Birmingham buttons." A 
tidy, bustling landlady, very American in her phraseo- 
logy, but kind in her way, took me under her especial 

70 INN AT THE BEND. Chap. IV. 

protection, as forty men were staying in. the bouse, and 
there was an astonishing paacity of the softer sex ; indeed, 
in all my subsequent travels I met with an undue and 
rather disagreeable preponderance of the ^^ lords of the 

Not being inclined to sit in the " parlour " with a very 
motley company, I accompanied the hostess into the 
kitchen, and sat by the fire upon a chopping-block, the 
most luxurious seat in the apartment. Two shoeless 
Irish girls were my other companions, and one of them, 
hearing that I was from England, inquired if I were 
acquainted with "one Mike Donovan, of Skibbereenl" 
The landlady's daughter was also there, a little, sharp- 
visaged, precocious torment of three years old, who spilt 
my ink and lost my thimble ; and then, coming up to me, 
said, " Well, stranger, I guess you're kinder tired." She 
very unceremoniously detached my watch from my chain, 
and, looking at it quite with the eye of a connoisseur, 
" guessed it must have cost a pretty high figure" I After 
she had filled my purse with ink, for which misdemeanour 
her mother olBTered no apology, I looked into the tea-room, 
which presented the curious spectacle of forty men, in- 
cluding a number of ship-carpenters of highly respectable 
appearance, taking tea in the silent, business-like way in 
which Transatlantic meals are generally despatched. My 
own meal, which the landlady evidently intended should 
be a very luxurious one, consisted of stewed tea, sweet- 
ened with molasses, soft cheese instead of butter, and 
dark rye-bread. 

The inn was so full that my hostess said she could not 
give me a bed — rather an unwelcome announcement to a 


wayworn traveller — and with considerable complacency 
she took me into a large, whitewashed, carpetless room, 
furnished with one chair, a small table, and my valise. 
She gave me two buffalo robes, and left me, hoping I 
should be comfortable ! Rather disposed to quarrel with 
a hardship which shortly afterwards I should have laughed 
at, I rolled up my cloak for a pillow, wrapped myself in 
a buffalo-skin, and slept as soundly as on the most luxu* 
rious couch. I was roused early by a general thumping 
and clattering, and, making the hasty toilette which one is 
compelled to do when destitute of appliances, I found the 
stage at the early hour of six ready at the door ; and, to 
my surprise, the coachman wa& muffled up in furs, and 
the morning was intensely cold. 

This vehicle was of the same construction as that which 
1 have already described in Nova Scotia; but, being nar- 
rower, was infinitely more uncomfortable. Seven gentle- 
men and two ladies went inside, in a space where six 
would have been disagreeably crowded. Mr. Sandford 
preferred the outside, where he could smoke his cigar 
without molestatioa The road was very hilly, and several 
times our progress was turned into retrogression, for the 
horses invariably refused to go up hill, probably, poor 
things I because they felt their inability to drag the 
loaded wain up the steep declivities which we continually 
met with. The passengers were therefore frequently 
called upon to get out and walk — a very agreeable recre- 
ation, for the ice was the thickness of a penny ; the ther- 
mometer stood at 35° ; there was a piercing north-east 
wind ; and though the sun shone from a cloudless sky, 
his rays had scarcely any power. We breakfasted at 


eight, at a little wayside inn, and then trayelled till 
midnight with scarcely any cessation. 

The way would have been very tedious had it not 
been enliyened by the eccentricities of Mr. Latham, an 
English passenger. After breakfast the conversation in 
the stage was pretty general, led by the individual afore- 
said, who lectured and preached^ rather than conversed. 
Few subjects were imtouched by his eloquence ; he spoke 
with equal ease on a difficult point in theology, and on 
the conformation of the sun. He lectured on politics, 
astronomy, chemistry, and anatomy with great fluency 
and equal incorrectness. In describing the circulation of 
the blood, he said, ^^ It 's a purely metaphysical subject ;" 
and the answering remark, ''It is the most purely 
physical,'' made him vehemently angry. He spoke of the 
sun by saying, '' I 've studied the sun ; I know it as well 
as I do this field ; it 's a dark body with a luminous 
atmosphere, and a climate more agreeable than that of 
the earth" — thus announcing as a fact what has been 
timidly put forward as a theory only by our greatest 

Politics soon came on the tapis^ when he attacked 
British institutions violently, with an equal amount of 
ignorance and presumption, making such glaring mis- 
statements that I felt bound to contradict them ; when he, 
not likinc; to be lowered in the estimation of his com- 
panions, contested the points in a way which closely 
bordered upon rudeness. 

He made likewise a very pedantic display of scientific 
knowledge, in virtue of an occasional attendance at meet- 
ings of mechanics' institutes, and asked the gentlemen — 

Chap. IV. CHEMISTRY. 73 

for "We're all gentlemen here" — numerous questions, 
to which they could not reply, when one of the party took 
courage to ask him why fire humed. " Oh, because of 
the hydrogen in the air, of course," was the complacent 
answer. "I beg your pardon, but there is no hydrogen 
in atmospheric air." — " There is ; I know the air well : it 
is composed one-half of hydrogen, the other half of 
nitrogen and oxygen." "You're surely confounding it 
with water. " — " No, I am as well acquainted with the 
composition of water as with that of air ; it is composed 
of the same gases, only in difierent proportions." This 
was too monstrous, and his opponent, while contradicting 
the statement, could not avoid a hearty laugh at its 
absurdity, in which the others joined without knowing why, 
which so raised the choler of this irascible gentleman, that 
it was most difficult to smooth matters. He contended 
that he was right and the other wrong ; that his proposi- 
tions were held by all chemists of eminence on both sides 
of the water ; that, though he had not verified the elements 
of these fluids by analysis, he was perfectly acquainted 
with their nature ; that the composition of air was a mere 
theory, but that his opponent's view was not held by any 
savam of note. The latter merely replied, " When you 
next light a candle you may be thankful that there is no 
hydrogen in the air ; " after which there was a temporary 
cessation of hostilities. 

But towards night, being still unwarned by the dis- 
comfitures of the morning, he propounded some questions 
which his companions could not answer; among which 
was, "Why are there black sheep?" How he would 
have solved this difiScult problem in natural history, I do 



not know. Mystification sat on all faces, when the indi*- 

vidual who had before attacked Mr. Latham's misstate* 

ments, took np the defence of the puzzled colonists by 

Yolunteering to answer the question if he would explain 

how ^^ impossible roots enter equations/' No reply was 

given to this, when, on some of the gentlemen urgii^ 

him, perhaps rather mischieyously, to imswer, he retorted 

angrily, — '^ I *m master of mathematics as well as of other 

sciences ; but I see there 's an intention to make fun of 

me. I don't choose to be made a butt of, and I'll show 

you that I can be as savage as other people." This 

threat had the efiect of producing a total silence for the 

remainder of the journey ; but Mr. Latham took an 

opportunity of explaining to me that in this speech he 

intended no personal allusion, but had found it necessary 

to check the ill-timed mirth in the stage. In spite of his 

presumption and pedantry, he never lost an opportunity 

of showing kindness. I saw him last in the very extremity 

of terror, during a violent gale off the coast of Maine. 

For the first fifty miles after leaving the Bend, our road 
lay through country as solitary and wild as could be con^ 
ceived — ^high hills, covered with endless forests of small 
growth. I looked in vain for the gigantic trees so cele- 
brated by travellers in America. If they ever grew in 
this region, they now, in the shape of ships, are to be 
found on every sea where England's flag waves. Occa- 
sionally the smoke of an Indian wigwam would rise in a 
thin blue cloud from among the dark foliage of the hem- 
lock ; and by the primitive habitation one of the aboriginal 
possessors of the soil might be seen, in tattered habili- 
ments, cleaning a gun or repairing a bark canoe, scarcely 



deigning an apathetic glance at those whom the appliances 
of civilisation and science had placed so immeasurably 
above him. Then a squaw, with a papoose strapped upon 
her back, would peep at us from behind a tree ; or a half- 
dothed urchin would pursue us for coppers, contrasting 
strangely with the majesty of Vhcas, or the sublimity of 
Chingachgook ; portraits which it is very doubtful if 
Cooper ever took from life. 

In the few places where the land had been cleared the 
cultivation was tolerable and the houses comfortable, 
surrounded generally by cattle-sheds and rich crops of 
Tartarian oats. The potatoes appeared to be free from 
disease, and the pumpkin crop was evidently abundant 
and in good condition. Sussex Valley, along which we 
passed for thirty miles, is green, wooded, and smilingly 
fertile, being watered by a clear rapid river. The nume- 
rous hay-meadows, and the neat appearance of the arable 
land, reminded me of England. It is surprising, con- 
sidering the advantages possessed by New Brunswick, 
that it has not been a more favourite resort of emigrants. 
It seems to me that one great reason of this must be the 
difficulty and expense of land-travelling, as the province 
is destitute of the means of internal communication in 
the shape of railways and canals. It contains several 
navigable rivers, and the tracts of country near the St. 
John, the Petticodiac, and the Miramichi rivers are very 
fertile, and adapted for cultivation. The lakes and minor 
streams in the interior of the province are also surrounded 
by rich land, and the capacious bays along the coast 
abound with fish. New Brunswick possesses '* responsible 
government," and has a Governor, an Executive Council, 

E 2 

76 EMIGRANTS. Chap. IV. 

a Legislative Council, and a House of Assembly. Except 
that certain expenses of defence, &c., are borne by the 
home government, which would protect the colony in the 
event of any predatory incursions on the part of the Ame- 
ricans, it has all the advantages of being an independent 
nation ; and it is believed that the Reciprocity Treaty, 
recently concluded with the United States, will prove of 
great commercial benefit 

Yet the number of emigrants who have sought its 
shores is comparatively small, and these arrivals were 
almost exclusively of the labouring classes, attracted by 
the extraordinarily high rates of wages, and were chiefly 
absorbed by mechanical employments. The numbers 
landed in 1853 were 3762, and, in 1854, 3618. With 
respect to the general afiairs of New Brunswick, it is very 
satisfactory to observe that the provincial revenue has 
increased to upwards of 200,000/. per annum. 

Fredericton, a town of about 9000 inhabitants, on the 
St. John river, by which it has a daily communication 
with the city of St. John, 90 miles distant, by steamer, is 
the capital and seat of government. New Brunswick has 
considerable mineral wealth ; coal and iron are abundant, 
and the climate is less foggy than that of Nova Scotia ; 
but these great natural advantages are suffered to lie 
nearly dormant. The colonists are very hardy and ex- 
tremely loyal ; but the vice of drinking, so prevalent in 
northern climates, has recently called for legislative inter- 

We stopped at the end of every stage of eighteen miles 
to change horses, and at one of the little inns an old 
man brought to the door of the stage a very pretty, inte- 


resting-looking girl of fifteen years old, and placed her 
under my care, requesting me to " see her safely to her 
home in St. John, and not allow any of the gentlemen to 
be rude to her." The latter part of the instructions was 
very easy to fulfil, as, whatever faults the colonists pos- 
sess, they are extremely respectful in their manners to 
ladies. But a diflSculty arose, or rather what would have 
been a difficulty in England, for the stage was full both 
inside and out, and all the passengers were desirous to 
reach Boston as speedily as possible. However, a gentle- 
man from New England, seeing the anxiety of the young 
girl to reach St. John, got out of the stage, and actually 
remained at the little roadside inn for one whole day and 
two nights, in order to accommodate a stranger. This 
act of kindness was performed at great personal incon- 
venience, and the gentleman who showed it did not appear 
to attach the slightest merit to it The novelty of it made 
a strong impression upon me, and it fully bore out all 
that I had read or heard of the almost exaggerated defer- 
ence to ladies which custom requires from American 

After darkness came on, the tedium of a journey of 
twenty hours, performed while sitting in a very cramped 
posture, was almost insupportable, and the monotony of it 
was only broken by the number of wooden bridges which 
we crossed, and the driver's admonition, " Bridge dan- 
gerous ; passengers get out and walk." The night was 
very cold and frosty, and so productive of aguish chills, 
that I was not at all sorry for the compelled pedes- 
trianism entailed upon me by the insecure state of these 


My young charge seemed extremely timid while cross- 
ing them, and uttered a few suppressed shrieks when 
curious splitting noises, apparently proceeding from the 
woodwork, broke the stillness ; nor was I altogether sur- 
prised at her emotions when, as we were walking over a 
bridge nearly half a mile in length, I was told that a coach 
and six horses had disappeared through it a fortnight 
before, at the cost of several broken limbs. 

While crossing the St. John, near the pretty town of 
Hampton, one of our leaders put both his fore feet into a 
hole^ and was with difficulty extricated. 

Precisely at midnight the stage clattered down the steep 
streets of the city of St. John, to which the ravages of the 
cholera had recently given such a terrible celebrity. After 
a fruitless pilgrimage to three hotels, we were at length 
received at Waverley House, having accomplished a journey 
of one hundred miles in twenty hours I On ringing my 
bell, it was answered by a rough porter, and I soon found 
that waiting chambermaids are not essential at Trans- 
atlantic hotels ; and the female servants, or rather helps^ 
are of a very superior class. A friend of mine, on leaving 
an hotel at Niagara, offered a douceur in the shape of half 
a dollar to one of these, but she drew herself up, and 
proudly replied, " American ladies do not receive money 
from gentlemen." Having left my keys at the Bend, I 
found my valise a useless incumbrance, rather annoying 
after a week of travelling. 

We spent the Sunday at St John, and, the opportune 
arrival of my keys enabling me to don some habiliments 
suited to the day, I went to the church, where the service, 
with the exception of the sermon, was very well performed. 

Chap. IT. CHOLERA. 79 

A solemn thanksgiving for the removal of the cholera was 
read, and was rendered very impressive by the fact that 
most of the congregation were in new mourning. The 
Angel of Death had long hovered over the doomed city, 
which lost rather more than a tenth of its population from 
a disease which in the hot summer of America is nearly as 
fatal and terrible as the plague. All who could leave the 
town fled ; but many carried the disease with them, and 
died upon the road. The hotels, shipyards, and stores 
were closed, bodies rudely nailed up in boards were hurried 
about the streets, and met with hasty burial outside the 
city, before vital warmth had fled ; the holy ties of natural 
aSection were disregarded, and the dying were left alone 
to meet the King of Terrors, none remaining to close 
their eyes ; the ominous clang of the death-bell was heard 
both night and day, and a dense brown fog was supposed 
to brood over the city, which for five weeks was the abode 
of the dying and the dead. 

A temporary regard for rdigion was produced among 
the inhabitants of St. John by the visit of the pestilence ; 
it was scarcely possible for the most sceptical not to re- 
cognise the overruling providence of God : and I have 
seldom seen more external respect for the Sabbath and the 
ordinances of religion than in this city. 

The preponderance of the rougher sex was very strongly 
marked at Waverley House. Fifty gentlemen sat down 
to dinner^ and only three ladies, inclusive of the landlady. 
Fifty-three cups of tea graced the table, which was like- 
wise ornamented with six boiled legs of mutton, numerous 
dishes of splendid potatoes, and corn-cobs^ squash, and 
pumpkin-pie, in true colonial abundance. 


I cannot forbear giving a conversation which took place 
at a meal at this inn, as it is very characteristic of the 
style of persons whom one continually meets with in 
travelling in these colonies ; ^' I guess you're from the 
Old Country?" commenced my vts-d-vis; to which recog- 
nition of my nationality I humbly bowed. " What do you 
think of us here down east ?" ^^ I have been so short a time 
in these provinces, that I cannot form any just opinion." 
'^ Oh, but you must have formed some ; we like to know 
what Old Country folks think of us." Thus asked, I 
could not avoid making some reply, and said, ^* I think 
there is a great want of systematic enterprise in these 
colonies ; you do not avail yourselves of the great natural 
advantages which you possess." ^^ Well, the fact is, old 
father Jackey Bull ought to help us, or let us go off on 
our own hook right entirely." "You have responsible 
government, and, to use your own phrase, you are on 
' your own hook' in all but the name." " Well, I guess 
as we are ; we^re a long chalk above the YankeeSy though 
them is fellers as thinks nobody's got their eye teeth cut 
but themselves." 

The self-complacent ignorance with which this remark 
was made was ludicrous in the extreme. He began 
again : " What do you think of Nova Scotia and the 
* Blue Noses' ? Halifax is a grand place, sure/y /" " At 
Halifax I found the best inn such a one as no respect- 
able American would condescend to sleep at, and a town 
of shingles, with scarcely any sidewalks. The people 
were talking largely of railways and steamers, yet I 
travelled by the mail toTniro and Pictou in a conveyance 
that would scarcely have been tolerated in England two 


centuries ago. The people of Halifax possess the finest 
harbour in North America, yet they have no docks^ and 
scarcely any shipping. The Nova-Scotians, it is known, 
have iron, coal, slate, limestone, and freestone, and their 
shores swarm with fish, yet they spend their time in talking 
about railways, docks, and the House of Assembly, and 
end by walking about doing nothing." 

^^ Yes," chimed in a Boston sea-captain, who had been 
our fellow-passenger from Europe, and prided himself 
upon being a '^ thorough-going down-easter," '^ it takes as 
long for a Blue Nose to put on his hat as for one of our 
free and enlightened citizens to go from Bosting to New 
Orleens. If we don't whip all creation it's a pity 1 Why, 
stranger, if you were to go to Connecticut, and tell 'em 
what you've been telling this ere child, they'd guess you'd 
been with Colonel Crockett,** 

"Well, I proceeded, in answer to another question 
from the New-Brunswicker, " if you wish to go to the 
north of your own province, you require to go round Nova 
Scotia by sea. I understand that a railway to the Bay 
of Chaleur has been talked about, but I suppose it has 
ended where it began; and, for want of a railway to 
Halifax, even the Canadian traffic has been diverted to 

"We want to invest some of our surplus revenue," 
said the captain. " It '11 be a good spec when Congress 
buys these colonies ; some of our ten-horse power chaps 
will come down, and, before you could whistle 'Yankee 
Doodle,' we '11 have a canal to Bay Varte, with a town 
as big as Newbaven at each end. The Blue Noses will 
look kinder streaked then, I guess." The New-Bruns- 

E 3 


wicker retorted, with some fierceness, that the handful of 
British troops at Fredericton could ^* chaw up^' the whole 
American army; and the conversation continued for 
some time longer in the same boastful and exaggerated 
strain on each side, but the above is a specimen of colo- 
nial arrogance and American conceit 

The population of New Brunswick in 1851 was 
193,800; but it is now over 210,000, and will likely 
increase rapidly, should the contemplated extension of 
the railway system to ihe province ever take place ; as in 
that case the route to both the Canadas by the port of 
St. John will probably supersede every other. The spa- 
cious harbour of St. John* has a sufficient depth of water 
for vessels of the largest class, and its tide-fall of about 
25 feet effectually prevents it from being frozen in the 

The timber trade is a most important source of wealth 
to the colony — the timber floated down the St John 
alone^ in the season of 1852, was of the value of 405,208/. 
sterling. The saw-mills, of which by the last census 
there were 584, gave employment to 4302 hands. By 
the same census there were 87 ships, with an average 
burthen of 400 tons each, built in the year in which it 
was taken, and the number has been on the increase since. 
These colonial-built vessels are gradually acquiring a 
very high reputation ; some of our finest clippers, includ- 
ing one or two belonging to the celebrated " White Star" 
line, are by the St.* John builders. Perhaps, with the 
single exception of Canada West, no colony offers such 
varied inducements to emigrants. 

I saw as much of St. John as possible, and on a fine 

Chap. IV. CITY OF ST. JOHN. 83 

day was favourably impressed with it. It well deserves 
its cognomen, " The City of the Rock," being situated 
on a high, bluff, rocky peninsula, backed on the land-side 
by steep barren hills. The harbour is well sheltered and 
capacious, and the suspension-bridge above the falls very 
picturesque. The streets are steep, wide, and well paved, 
and the stores are more pretentious than those of Halifax. 
There is also a very handsome square, with a more re- 
spectable fountain in it than those which excite the 
ridicule of foreigners in front of our National Gallery. 
It is a place where a large amount of business is done, 
and the shipyards alone give employment to several 
thousand persons. 

Yet the lower parts of the town are dirty in the ex- 
treme. I visited some of the streets near the water 
before the cholera had quite disappeared from them, nor 
did I wonder that the pestilence should linger in places 
so appropriate to itself; for the roadways were strewn to 
a depth of several inches with sawdust, emitting a foul 
decomposing smell, and in which lean pigs were routing 
and fighting. 

Yet St John wears a lively aspect You see a thou- 
sand boatmen, raftmen, and millmen, some carping dingy 
scows, others loading huge square-sided ships; busy 
gangs of men in fustian jackets, engaged in running off 
the newly sawed timber ; and the streets bustling with 
storekeepers, lumber-merchants, and market-men ; all 
combining to produce a chaos of activity very uncommon 
in the towns of our North American colonies. But too 
often, murky-looking wharfe, storehouses, and half-dis- 
mantled ships, are enveloped in drizzling fog — the fog 


rendered yet more impenetrable by the fumes of coal-tar 
and sawdust ; and the lower streets swarm with a demo- 
ralised population. Yet the people of St. John are so 
far beyond the people of Halifax, that I heartily wish 
them success and a railroad. 

The air was ringing with the clang of a thousand saws 
and hammers, when, at seven on the morning of a brilliant 
August day, we walked through the swarming streets 
bordering upon the harbour to the Omevorg steamer, 
belonging to the United States, built for Long Island 
Sound, but now used as a coasting steamer. All my 
preconceived notions of a steamer were here at fault. If 
it were like anything in nature, it was like Noah's ark, 
or, to come to something post-diluvian, one of those 
covered hulks, or " ships in ordinary," which are to be 
seen at Portsmouth and Devonport. 

She was totally unlike an English ship, painted entirely 
white, without masts, with two small black funnels along- 
side each other ; and several erections one above another 
for decks, containing multitudes of windows about two 
feet square. The fabric seemed kept together by two 
large beams, which added to the top-heavy appearance of 
the whole affair. We entered by the paddle-box (which 
was within the outer casing of the ship), in company with 
a great crowd, into a large square uncarpeted apartment, 
•called the " Hall," with offices at the sides for the sale of 
railway and dinner tickets. Separated from this by a 
curtain is the ladies' saloon, a large and almost too airy 
apartment extending from the Hall to the stern of the 
ship, well furnished with sofas, rocking-chairs, and marble 
tables. A row of berths runs along the side, hung with 

Chap. IV. DIN^EB ON BOABD. 85 

festooned drapery of satin damask, the curtains being of 
muslin, embroidered with rose-coloured braid. 

Aboye this is the general saloon, a large, handsomely 
furnished room, with state rooms running down each side, 
and opening upon a small deck fourteen feet long, also 
covered ; the roof of this and of the saloon, forming the 
real or hurricane deck of the ship, closed to passengers, 
and twelve feet above which works the beam of the 
engine. Below the Hall, running the whole length of 
the ship, is the gentlemen's cabin^ containing 170 berths. 
This is lighted by artificial light, and is used for meals. 
An enclosure for the engine occupies the centre, but is 
very small, as the machinery of a high-pressure engine is 
without the encumbrances of condenser and air-pump. 
The engines drove the unwieldy fabric through the calm 
water at the rate of fifteen miles an hour. I have been 
thus minute in my description, because this one will 
serve for all the steamers in which I subsequently tra- 
velled in the United States and Canada. 
- The city of St. John looked magnificent on its lofty 
steep ; and for some time we had some very fine coast 
scenery ; lofty granite clifi rising abruptly from the 
water, clothed with forests, the sea adjoining them so 
deep, that we passed them, as proved by actual demon- 
stration, within a stone's throw. At one we arrived at 
Eastport, in Maine, a thriving-looking place, and dinner 
was served while we were quiescent at the wharf. The 
stewardess hunted up all the females in the ship, and, 
preceding them down stairs, placed them at the head of 
the table ; then, and not an instant before, were the gen- 
tlemen allowed to appear, who made a most obstreperous 


rush at the viands. There were about 200 people 
seated in a fetid and dimly-lighted apartment^ at a 
table covered over with odoriferous viands — pork stuffed 
with onions, boiled legs of mutton, boiled chickens and 
turkeys, roast geese, beef-steaks, yams, tomatoes, squash, 
mush, corn-cobs, johnny cake, and those endless dishes 
of pastry to which the American palate is so partial. I 
was just finishing a plate of soup when a waiter touched 
me on the shoulder — " Dinner ticket, or fifty cents ;" and 
almost before I had comprehended the mysteries of Ame- 
rican money sufficiently to pay, other people were eating 
their dessert. So simple, however, is the coinage of the 
United States, that in two days I understood it as well as 
our own. Five dollars equal an English sovereign, and 
one hundred cents make a dollar, and with this very 
moderate amount of knowledge one can conduct one's 
pecuniary affairs all over the Union, The simplicity of 
the calculation was quite a relief to me after the relative 
values of the English sovereign in the colonies, which had 
greatly perplexed me : 25^. 6d, in New Brunswick, 25^. 
in Nova Scotia, and 30^. in Prince Edward Island. I 
sat on deck till five, when I went down to my berth. As 
the evening closed in gloomily, the sea grew coarser, and 
I heard the captain say, " We are likely to have a very 
fresh night of it.*' At seven a wave went down the com- 
panion-way, and washed half the tea-things off the table, 
and before I fell asleep, the mate put his head through 
the curtain to say, " It's a rough night, ladies, but there's 
no danger ;" a left-handed way of giving courage, which 
of course frightened the timid. About eleven I was 
awoke by confused cries, and in my dawning conscious- 

Chap. IV. A STOEM. 87 

ness everything seemed going to piece& The curtain was 
undrawn, and I could see the hall continually swept hy 
the waves. 

Everything in our saloon was loose ; rocking-chairs 
were careering about the floor and coming into collision ; 
the stewardess, half-dressed, was crawling about from 
berth to berth, answering the inquiries of terrified ladies, 
and the ship was groaning and straining heavily ; but 
I slept again, till awoke at midnight by a man's voice 
shouting '^ Get up, ladies, and dress, but don't come out 
till you're called ; the gale 's very heavy." Then fol- 
lowed a scene. People, helpless in illness a moment 
before, sprang but of their berths and hastily huddled on 
their clothes ; mothers caught hold of their infants with 
a convulsive grasp ; some screamed, others sat dawn in 
apathy, while not a few addressed agonised supplications 
to that God, too often neglected in times of health and 
safety, to save them in their supposed extremity. 

Crash went the lamp, which lyas suspended from the 
ceiling, as a huge wave struck the Bhip, making her reel 
and stagger, and shrieks of terror followed this event, 
which left us in almost total darkness. Rush came 
another heavy wave, sweeping up the saloon, carrying 
chairs and stools before it, and as rapidly retiring. The 
hall was full of men, clinging to the supports, each catch- 
ing the infectious fear from his neighbour. Wave after 
wave now struck the ship. I heard the captain say the 
sea was making a clean breach over her, and order the 
deck-load overboard. Shortly after, the water, sweeping 
in from above, put out the engine-fires, and, as she 
settled down continually in the trough of the sea, and 

88 A STOKM. Chap. IV. 

lay trembling there as though she would never rise again, 
even in my ignorance I knew that she had " no way on 
her" and was at the mercy of the waters. I now under- 
stood the meaning of " blowing great guns." The wind 
sounded like continual discharges of heavy artillery, and 
the waves, as they struck the ship, felt like cannon-balls. 
1 could not get up and dress, for, being in the top berth, I 
was unable to get out in consequence of the rolling of the 
ship, and so, being unable to mend matters, I lay quietly, 
the whole passing before me as a scene. I had several 
times been called on to anticipate death from illness ; but 
here, as I heard the men outside say, "She's going 
down, she's water-logged, she can't hold together," 
there was a different prospect of sinking down among the 
long trailing weeds in the cold, deep waters of the At- 
lantic. Towards three o'clock, a wave, striking the ship, 
threw me against a projecting beam of the side, cutting 
my head severely and stunning me, and I remained in- 
sensible for three hours. We continued in great danger 
for ten hours, many expecting each moment to be their 
last, but in the morning the gale moderated, and by most 
strenuous exertions at the pumps the water was kept 
down till assistance was rendered, which enabled us about 
one o'clock to reach the friendly harbour of Portiand 
in Maine, with considerable damage and both our boats 
stove. Deep thankfulness was expressed by many at such 
an unlooked-for termination of the night's terrors and ad- 
ventures ; many the resolutions expressed not to trust the 
sea again. 

We were speedily moored to the wharf at Portland, 
amid a forest of masts; the stars and stripes flaunted 


gaily overhead in concert with the American eagle ; and 
as I stepped upon those shores on which the sanguine 
suppose that the Anglo-Saxon race is to renew the vigour 
of its youth, I felt that a new era of my existence had 




First ezperieuces of American freedom — The " striped pig" and "Dusty 
Ben" — A country mouse — What the cars are like — Beauties of 
New England — The land of apples — A Mammoth hotel — The 
rusty inkstand exiled — Eloquent eyes — Alone in a crowd. 

The city of Portland, with its busy streets, and crowded 
wharfs, and handsome buildings, and railway depots^ 
rising as it does on the barren coast pf the sterile State 
of Maine, fully bears out the first part of an assertion 
which I had already heard made by Americans, " We 're 
a great people, the greatest nation on the face of the earth/' 
A polite custom-house oflScer asked me if I had any- 
thing contraband in my trunks, and on my reply in the 
negative they were permitted to pass without even the 
formality of being uncorded. "Enlightened citizens" 
they are truly, I thought, and, with the pleasant conscious- 
ness of being in a perfectly free country, where every one 
can do as he pleases, I entered an hotel near the water 
and sat down in the ladies' parlour. I had not tasted 
food for twenty-five hours, my clothes were cold and wet, 
a severe cut was on my temple, and I felt thoroughly ex- 
hausted. These circumstances, I thought, justified me 
in ringing the bell and asking for a glass of wine. Visions 
of the agreeable refreshment which would be produced by 
the juice of the grape appeared simultaneously with the 
waiter. I made the request, and he brusquely replied. 

Chap. V. MAINE LAW. 91 

" You can't hare it, it^s contrary to lawJ^ In my half- 
drowned and faint condition the refusal appeared tanta- 
mount to positive cruelty, and I remembered that I bad 
come in contact with the celebrated ^^' Maine Law.** That 
the inhabitants of the State of Maine are not ^^free** was 
thus placed practically before me at once. Whether they 
are " enJighterwd^* I doubted at the time, but leave the 
question of the prohibition of fermented liquors to be de- 
cided by abler social economists than myself. 

I was hereafter informed that to those who go down 
stairs, and ask to see the ^^ striped pig^** wine and spirits are 
produced; that a request to speak with ^^ Dusty Ben** 
has a like effect, and that, on asking for ^* sarsaparilla" at 
certain stores in the town, the desired stimulant can be 
obtained. Indeed it is said that the consumption of this 
drug is greater in Maine than in all the other States put 
together. But in justice to this highly re^ctable State, 
I must add that the drunkenness which forced this strin- 
gent measure upon the legislature was among the thou- 
sands of English and Irish emigrants who annually land 
at Portland. My only companion here was a rosy- 
cheeked, simple country girl, who was going to Kenne- 
bunk, and, never having been from home before, had not 
the slightest idea what to do. Presuming on my anti- 
quated appearance, she asked me *' to take care of her, 
to get her ticket for her, for she dare'nt ask those men 
for it, and to let her sit by me in the car." She said she 
was so frightened with something she'd seen that she 
didn't know how she should go in the cars. I asked her 
what it was. " Oh," she said, " it was a great thing, 
bright red, with I don't know how many wheels, and a 

92 EAILWAT CARS. Chap. V. 

large b1ax;k top, and bright shining things moving about 
all over it, and smoke and steam coming out of it, and it 
made such an awful noise it seemed to shake the earth." 

At half-past three we entered the cars in a long shed, 
where there were no officials in uniform as in England, 
and we found our way in as we could. " All aboard !" 
is the signal for taking places, but on this occasion a loud 
shout of " Tumble in for your lives !" greeted my amused 
ears, succeeded by " Go a-head !" and off we went, the 
engineer tolling a heavy bell to notify our approach to 
the passengers in the streets along which toe passed. 
America has certainly flourished under her motto " Go 
a-head !" but the cautious '' All right I" of an English 
guard, who waits to start till he is sure of bis ground 
being clear, gives one more confidence. I never expe- 
rienced the same amount of fear which is expressed by 
Burnt and other writers, for, on comparing the number of 
accidents with the number of miles of railway open in 
America, I did not find the disadvantage in point of 
safety on her side. The cars are a complete novelty to 
an English eye. They are twenty*five feet long, and 
hold about sixty persons ; they have twelve windows on 
either side, and two and a door at each end ; a passage 
runs down the middle, with chairs to hold two each on 
either side. There is a small saloon for ladies with 
babies at one end, and a filter containing a constant 
supply of iced water. There are rings along the roof 
for a rope which passes through each car to the engine, 
so that anything wrong can be communicated instantly to 
the en^neer. Every car has eight solid wheels, four 
being placed close together at each end, all of which can 


be locked by two powerful breaks. At each end of every 
car is a platform, and passengers are ^'prohibited from 
standing upon it at their peril," as also from passing from 
car to car while the train is in motion ; but as no penalty 
attaches to this law, it is incessantly and continuously 
violated, '^ free and enlightened citizens " being at per- 
fect liberty to imperil their own necks; and "poor, 
ignorant, benighted Britishers " soon learn to follow their 
example. Persons are for ever passing backwards and 
forwards, exclusive of the conductor whose business it is, 
and water-carriers, book, bonbon, and peach venders. 
No person connected with these railways wears a distin- 
guishing dress, and the stations, or '^ depdts " as they are 
called, are generally of the meanest description, mere 
wooden sheds, with a ticket-office very difficult to dis- 
cover. If you are so fortunate as to find a man standing 
at the door of the baggage-car, he attaches copper plates 
to your trunks, with a number and the name of the place 
you are going to upon them, giving you labels with cor- 
responding numbers. By this excellent arrangement, in 
going a very long journey, in which you are obliged to 
change cars several times, and cross rivers and lakes in 
steamers, you are relieved of all responsibility, and only 
require at the end to give your checks to the hotel-porter, 
who regains your baggage without any trouble on your 

This plan would be worthily imitated at our termini in 
England, where I have frequently seen ''unprotected 
females " in the last stage of frenzy at being pushed out 
of the way, while some persons unknown are running off 
with their possessions. 


When you reach a depots as there are no railway 
porters, numerous men clamour to take your effects to 
an hotel, but, as many of these are thieves, it is neces- 
sary to be very careful in only selecting those who have 
hotel-badges on their bats. 

An emigrant-car is attached to each train, but there is 
only one class : thus it may happen that you have on one 
side the President of the Oreat Republic, and on the 
other the gentleman who blacked your shoes in the morn- 
ing. The Americans, however, have too much respect 
for themselves and their companions to travel except in 
good clothes, and this mingling of all ranks is far from 
being disagreeable, particularly to a stranger like myself, 
one of whose objects was to see things in their everyday 
dress. We must be well aware that in many parts of 
England it would be di£Bcult for a lady to travel unat- 
tended in a second-class, impossible in a third-class car- 
riage ; yet I travelled several thousand miles in America, 
frequently alone, from the house of one friend to another's, 
and never met with anything approaching to incivility ; 
and I have often heard it stated that a lady, no matter 
what her youth or attractions might be, could travel alone 
through every State in the Union, and never meet with 
anything but attention and respect 

I have had considerable experience of the cars, having 
travelled from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, and from 
the Mississippi to the St. Lawrence, and found the com- 
pany so agreeable in its way, and the cars themselves so 
easy, well ventilated, and comfortable, that, were it not 
for the disgusting practice of spitting upon the floors in 
which the lower classes of Americans indulge, I should 


greatly prefer tbem to our own exclusive carriages, de- 
nominated in the States ^* ^coon sentry-boxes." Well, we 
are seated in the cars ; a man shouts " Go a-head ! " and 
we are off, the engine ringing its heavy bell, and thus 
begin my experiences of American travel. 

I found myself in company with eleven gentlemen and 
a lady from Prince Edward Island, whom a strange 
gregarious instinct had thus drawn together. The engine 
gave a hollow groan, very unlike our cheerful whistle, 
and, soon moving through the town^ we reached the open 

Fair was the country that we passed through in the 
States of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Oh 
very fair I smiling, cultivated, and green, like England, 
but far happier; for slavery which disgraces the New 
World, and poverty which desolates the Old, are nowhere 
to be seen. 

There were many farmhouses surroimded by the 
nearly finished harvest, with verandahs covered with 
vines and roses; and patriarchal-looking family groups 
seated under them, engaged in different employments, 
and enjoying the sunset, for here it was gorgeous summer. 
Aud there were smaller houses of wood painted white, 
with bright green jalousies, in gardens of pumpkins, and 
sunx)unded by orchards. Apples seemed almost to grow 
wild ; there were as many orchards as corn-fields, and 
apple and pear trees grew in the very hedgerows. 

And such apples ! not like our small, sour, flavourless 
thinffs, but like some southern fruit ; huge balls, red and 
yellow, such as are caricatured in wood, weighing down 
the fine large trees. There were heaps of apples on the 


ground, and horses and cows were eating them in the 
fields, and rows of freight-cars at all the stations were 
laden with them, and little boys were selling them in the 
cars ; in short, where were they not ? There were smiling 
fields with verdant hedgerows between them, unlike the 
untidy snake-fences of the colonies, and meadows like 
parks, dotted over with trees, and woods filled with 
sumach and scarlet maple, and rapid streams hurrying 
over white pebbles, and villages of green-jalousied houses, 
with churches and spires, for. here all places of worship 
have spires; and the mellow light of a declining sun 
streamed over this varied scene of happiness, prosperity, 
and comfort ; and for a moment I thought — O traitorous 
thought!— that the New England was fairer than the 

Nor were the more material evidences of prosperity 
wanting, for we passed through several large towns near 
the coast — Newbury Port, Salem, and Portsmouth — with 
populations varying from 30,000 to 50,000 souls. They 
seemed bustling, thriving places, with handsome stores, 
which we had an opportunity of observing, as in the States 
the cars run right into the streets along the carriage-way, 
traffic being merely diverted from the track while the cars 
are upon it. 

Most of the railways in the States have only one track 
or line of rails, with occasional sidings at the stations 
for the cars to pass each other. A fence is by no means 
a matter of necessity, and two or three animals are 
destroyed every day from straying on the line. The 
engines, which are nearly twice the size of ours, with a 
covered enclosure for the engineer and stoker, carry 

Chap. V. MORE *' FREEDOM." 97 

IsLTge fenders or guards in front, to lift incumbrances from 
the track. At eight o'clock we found ourselves passing 
over water, and between long rows of gas-lights, and 
shortly afterwards the cars stopped at Boston, the Athens 
of America. Giving our baggage-checks to the porter 
of the American House, we drove to that immense hotel, 
where I remained for one night. It was crammed from 
the very basement to the most undesirable locality nearest 
the moon ; I believe it had seven hundred inmates. I 
had arranged to travel to Cincinnati, and from thence to 
Toronto, with Mr. and Mrs. Walrence, but on reaching 
Boston I found that they feared fever and cholera, and, 
leaving me to travel alone from Albany, would meet me 
at Chicago. Under these circumstances I remained with 
my island friends for one night at this establishment, a 
stranger in a land where I had few acquaintances, though 
I was well armed with letters of introduction. One of 
these was to Mr. Amy, a highly respected merchant of 
Boston, who had previously informed me by letter of the 
best route to the States, and I immediately despatched a 
note tp him, but he was absent at his country-house, and 
I was left to analyse the feeling of isolation inseparable 
from being alone in a crowd. Having received the key 
of my room, I took my supper in an immense hall, calcu- 
lated for dining 400 persons. I next went into the ladies' 
parlour, and felt rather out of place among so many richly 
dressed females ; for as I was proceeding to write a letter, 
a porter came in and told me that writing was not allowed 
in that saloon. " Freedom again," thought I. On look- 
ing round I did feel that my antiquated goose-quill and 
rusty-looking inkstand were rather out of place. The 



carpet of the room was of richly flowered Victoria pile, 
rendering the heaviest footstep noiseless ; the tables were 
marble on gilded pedestals, the couches covered with gold 
brocade. At a piano of rich workmanship an elegantly 
dressed lady was seated, singing '' And will you love me 
always ? " — a question apparently satisfactorily answered 
by the speaking eyes of a bearded Southerner, who was 
turning over the pages for her. A fountain of antique 
workmanship threw up a jet (Teau of iced water, scented 
with eau de Cologne ; and the whole was lighted by four 
splendid chandeliers interminably reflected, for the walls 
were mirrors divided by marble pillars. The room 
seemed appropriate to the purposes to which it was 
devoted — music, needlework, conversation, and flirting. 
With the single exception of the rule against writing in 
the ladies' saloon, a visitor at these immense establish- 
ments is at perfect liberty to do as he pleases, provided 
he pays the moderate charge of two dollars, or Ss. a day. 
This includes, even at the best hotels, a splendid table- 
(T/iote^ a comfortable bedroom, lights, attendance, and 
society in abundance. From the servants one meets with 
great attention, not combined with deference of manner, 
still less with that obsequiousness which informs you by a 
suggestive bow, at the end of your visit, that it has been 
meted out with reference to the probable amount of half- 
sovereigns, bhillings, and sixpences at your disposal. 

It will not be out of place here to give a sketch of the 
peculiarities of the American hotel system, which con- 
stitutes such a distinctive feature of life in the States, and 
is a requirement arising out of the enormous extent of 
their territory, and the nomade life led by vast numbers 


of the most restless and energetic people under the 

" People will turn hastily over the pages when they 
come to this " was the remark of a lively critic on reading 
this announcement ; but while I promise my readers that 
hotels shall only be described once^ I could not reconcile 
it to myself not to give them information on " Things as 
they are in America," when I had an opportunity of 
acquiring it. 

The American House at Boston, which is a fair specimen 
of the best class of hotels in the States, though more 
frequented by mercantile men than by tourists, is built of 
grey granite, with a frontage to the street of 100 feet. 
The ground floor to the front is occupied by retail stores, 
in the centre of which a lofty double doorway denotes the 
entrance, marked in a more characteristic manner by 
groups of gentlemen smoking before it. This opens into 
a lofty and very spacious hall, with a chequered floor of 
black and white marble; there are lounges against the 
wall, covered over with buffalo-skins ; and, except at 
meal-times, this capacious apartment is a scene of endless 
busy life, from two to three hundred gentlemen constantly 
thronging it, smoking at the door, lounging on the 
settees, reading the newspapers, standing in animated 
groups discussing commercial matters, arriving, or de- 
parting. Piles of luggage, in which one sees with dismay 
one's light travelling valise crushed under a gigantic 
trunk, occupy the centre ; porters seated on a form wait 
for orders; peripatetic individuals walk to and fro; a 
confused Babel of voices is ever ascending to the galleries 
above ; and at the door, hacks, like the *' eilwa^ofi " of 

F 2 


Germany, are ever depositing fresh arrivalSb There is 
besides this a private entrance for ladies. Opposite the 
entrance is a counter, wliere four or five clerks constantly 
attend, under the superintendence of a cashier, to whom 
all applications for rooms are personally made. I went 
up to this functionary, wrote my name in a book, he 
placed a number against it, and, giving me a key with a 
corresponding number attached, I followed a porter down 
a long corridor, and up to a small clean room on the third 
story, where to all intents and purposes my identity was 
lost — ^merged in a mere numeral. At another side of the 
hall is the bar, a handsomely decorated apartment, where 
lovers of such beverages can procure " toddy," " night- 
caps," " mint julep," " gin sling," &e. On the door of my 
very neat and comfortable bed-room was a printed state- 
ment of the rules, times of meals, and charge per diem. 
I believe there are nearly 300 rooms in this house, some 
of them being bed-rooms as large and commodious as in a 
private mansion in England. 

On the level of the entrance is a magnificent eating 
saloon, principally devoted to male guests, and which is 
80 feet long. Upstairs is a large room furnished with a 
rare combination of splendour and taste, called **The 
Ladies' Ordinary," where families, ladies, and their in- 
cited guests take their mealsw Breakfast is at the early 
hour of seven, and remains on the table till nine ; dinner 
is at one, and tea at six. At these meals " every delicacy 
of the season " is served in profusion ; the daily bill of 
fare would do credit to a banquet at the Mansion House ; 
the chrf de euisitfe is generally French, and an epicure 
would find ample scope for the gratification of his palate. 


If people persist in taking their meals in a separate 
apartment, they are obliged to pay dearly for the indul- 
gence of their exclusiveness. There are more than 100 
waiters, and the ladies at table are always served first, and 
to the best pieces. 

Though it is not part of the hotel system, I cannot 
forbear mentioning the rapidity with which the Americans 
despatch their meals. My next neighbour has frequently 
risen from his seat after a substantial and varied dinner 
while I was sending away my soup-plate. The effect of 
this at a tahle-d! hole, where 400 or 600 sit down to dine, 
is unpleasant, for the swing-door is incessantly in motion. 
Indeed, the utter absence of repose is almost the first 
thing which strikes a stranger. The incessant sound of 
bells and gongs, the rolling of hacks to and from the 
door, the arrivals and departures every minute, the tram- 
pling of innumerable feet, the flirting and talking in every 
corridor, make these immense hotels more like a human 
beehive than anything else. 

The drawing-rooms are always kept very hot by huge 
fires of anthracite coal, and the doors are left open to 
neutralise the effect. The temperance at table filled me 
with surprise. I very seldom saw any beverage but pure 
iced-water. There are conveniences of all descriptions 
for the use of the guests. The wires of the electric tele- 
graph, constantly attended by a clerk, run into the hotel ; 
porters are ever ready to take your messages into the 
town ; pens, paper, and ink await you in recesses in 
the lobbies ; a man is ever at hand to clean and brush 
soiled boots— in short, there is every contrivance for 


abridging your labour in mounting up stairs. But the 
method of avoiding the confusion and din of two or three 
hundred bells must not be omitted. All the wires from 
the different rooms centre at one bell, which is located in 
a case in the lobby, with the mechanism seen on one side 
through a sheet of plate-glass. The other side of the 
case is covered with numbers in rows. By each number 
is a small straight piece of brass, which drops and hangs 
down when the bell is sounded, displaying the number to 
the attention of the clerk, who sends a waiter to the 
apartment, and places the piece of brass in its former 

Steam laundries are connected with all the large 
hotels. At American House the laundry is under the 
management of a clerk, who records all the minor details. 
The linen is cleansed in a chum-like machine movjed by 
steam, and wrung by a novel application of tlie principle 
of centrifugal force ; after which the articles are dried by 
being passed through currents of hot air, so that they 
are washed and ironed in the space of a few minutes. 
The charge varies from six to ten shillings a dozen. 
There are also suites of hot and cold baths, and barbers' 

Before I understood the mysteries of these hotels, I 
used to be surprised to see gentlemen travelling without 
even carpet-bags, but it soon appeared that razors and 
hair-brushes were superfluous, and that the possessor of 
one shirt might always pass as the owner of half a dozen, 
for, while taking a bath, the magic laundry would re- 
produce the article in its pristine glories of whiteness and 


starch. Every attention to the comfort and luxury of the 
guest is paid at American House, and its spirited pro- 
prietor, Mr. Rice, deserves the patronage which the tra- 
velling public so liberally bestow upon him. On ringing 
my bell it was answered by a gargon, and it is rather 
curious seldom or never to see a chambermaid. 



A suspected bill — A friend in need — All aboard for the Western cars 
— The wings of the wind — American politeness — A loquacious 
conductor — Three minutes for refreshments — A conversation 
on politics — A confession — The emigrant car — Beauties of the 
woods — A forest on fire — Dangers of the cars — The Queen City 
of the West. 

I ROSE the morning after my arrival at five, hoping to 
leave Boston for Cincinnati by the Lightning Express^ 
i^hich left at eight. But on summoning the cashier (or 
rather requesting his attendance, for one never summons 
any one in the States), and showing him my bill of ex- 
change drawn on Barclay and Company of London, he 
looked at me^ then at it, suspiciously, as if doubting 
whether the possessor of such a little wayworn port- 
manteau could be the bond fide owner of such a sum as 
the figures represented. " There's so much bad paper 
going about, we can't possibly accommodate you," was 
the discouraging reply ; so I was compelled patiently to 
submit to the detention. 

I breakfasted at seven in the ladies' ordinary, without 
exchanging a syllable with any one, and soon after my 
kind friend, Mr. Amy, called upon me. He proved 
himself a friend indeed, and his kindness gave me at 
once a favourable impression of the Americans. First im- 
pressions are not always correct, but I am happy to say 
they were fiilly borne out in this instance by the uniform 

Ch.u>. VI. A FEIEND IN NEED. vMT^^ 105 

kindness and hospitality which I experienced during my 
whole tour. Mr. Amy soon procured . me the money for 
my bill, all in five-dollar notes, and I was glad to find the 
exchange greatly in favour of England. He gave me 
much information about my route, and various cautions 
which I found very useful, and then drove me in a 
light " waggon " round the antiquated streets of Boston, 
crowded with the material evidences of prosperity, to his 
pretty villa three miles distant, in one of those villages of 
ornamental dwelling-houses which render the appearance 
of the environs of Boston peculiarly attractive. I saw a 
good deal of the town in my drive, but, as I returned to 
it before leaving the States, I shall defer my description 
of it, and request my readers to dash away at once with me 
to the " far west," the goal alike of the traveller and the 
adventurer, and the El Dorado of the emigrant's misty 

Leaving American House with its hall swarming like 
a hive of bees, I drove to the depot in a hack with several 
fellow-passengers, Mr. Amy, who was executing a com- 
mission for me in the town, having promised to meet me 
there, but, he being detained, I arrived alone, and was 
deposited among piles of luggage, in a perfect Babel of 
men vociferating, " Where are you for ?" " Lightning 
Express ! " " All aboard for the Western cars," &c. 
Some one pounced upon my trunks, and was proceeding 
to weigh them, when the stage-driver stepped forward and 
said, " It's a lady's luggage," upon which he relinquished 
his intention. He also took my ticket for me, handed me 
to the cars, and then withdrew, wishing me a pleasant 

F 3 


journey, his prompt civility having assisted me greatly in 
the chaotic confusion which attends the departure of a 
train in America. The cars by which I left were gua- 
ranteed to take people to Cincinnati, a distance of lOGO 
miles, in 40 hours, allowing time for refreshments ! I 
was to travel by five difierent lines of railway, but this 
part of the railway system is so well arrapged that I only 
took a ticket once, rather a curious document — a strip of 
paper half a yard long, with passes for five difierent roads 
upon it ; thus, whenever I came upon a fresh line, the 
conductor tore off a. piece, giving me a ticket in ex- 
change. Tickets are not only to be procured at the sta- 
tions, but at several offices in every town, in all the steam- 
boats, and in the cars themselves. For the latter luxury, 
for such it must certainly be considered, as it enables one 
to step into the cars at the last moment without any 
preliminaries, one only pays five cents extra. 

The engine tolled its h^avy bell, and soon we were 
amid the beauties of New £ngland ; rocky hills, small 
lakes, rapid streams, and trees distorted into every variety 
of the picturesque. At the next station from Boston the 
Walrences joined me. We were to travel together, with 
our ulterior destinatipn a settlement in Canada West, 
but they would not go to Cincinnati ; there were lions in 
tlie street; cholera and yellow fever, they said, were 
raging ; in short, they left me at Springfield, to find my 
way in a strange country as best I might ; our rendez- 
vous to be Chicago. 

At Springfield I obtained the first seat in the car, gene- 
rally the object of most undignified elbowing, and had 


space to admire the beauties among which we passed. 
For many miles we travelled through a narrow gorge, be- 
tween very high precipitous hills, clothed with wood up to 
their summits ; those still higher rising behind them, while 
the track ran along the very edge of a clear rushing river. 
The darkness which soon came on was only enlivened by 
the sparks from the wood fire of the engine, so numerous 
and continuous as to look like a display of fireworks. 
Just before we reached Albany a very respectable-looking 
man got into the car, and, as his manners were very quiet 
and civil, we entered into conversation about the trade and 
manufactures of the neighbourhood. When we got out of 
the cars on the east side of the river, he said he was going 
no farther, but, as I was alone, he would go across with 
me, and see me safe into the cars on the other side. He 
also oflered to carry my reticule and umbrella, and look 
after my luggage. His civility so excited my suspicions 
of his honesty, that I did not trust my luggage or reticule 
out of my sight, mindful of a notice posted up at all the 
stations, "Beware of swindlers, pickpockets, and luggage- 

We emerged from the cars upon the side of the Hudson 
river, in a sea of mud, where, had not ray friend oflered 
me his arm, as Americans of every class invariably do to 
an " unprotected female" in a crowd, I should have been 
borne down and crushed by the shoals of knapsack-carry- 
ing pedestrians and truck-pushing porters who swarmed 
down upon the dirty wharf. The transit across occupied 
fully ten minutes, in consequence of the numerous times 
the engine had to be reversed, to avoid running over the 


small craft which infest this stream. My volunteer escort 
took me through a crowd through which I could not have 
found my way alone, and put me into the cars which 
started from the side of a street in Albany, requesting the 
conductor, whose countenance instantly prepossessed me 
in his favour, to pay me every attention on the route. 
He remained with me until the cars started, and told me 
that when he saw ladies travelling alone he always 
made a point of assisting them. I shook hands with 
him at parting, feeling real regret at losing so kind 
and intelligent a companion. This man was a working 

Some time afterwards, while travelling for two suc- 
cessive days and nights in an unsettled district in the 
west, on the second night, fairly overcome with fatigue, 
and unable, from the crowded state of the car, to rest my 
feet on the seat in front, I tried unsuccessfully to make a 
pillow for my head by rolling up my cloak, which attempts 
being perceived by a working mechanic, he accosted me 
thus : " Stranger, I guess you're almost used up ? Maybe 
you'd be more comfortable if you could rest your head." 
Without further parley he spoke to his companion, a man 
in a similar grade in society ; they both gave up their 
seats, and rolled a coat round the arm of the chair, which 
formed a very comfortable sofa ; and these two men stood 
for an hour and a half, to give me the advantage of it, 
apparently witliout any idea that they were performing a 
deed of kindness. I met continually with these acts of 
hearty uno^tentatious good nature. I mention these in 
justice to the lower classes of the United States, whose 


rugged exteriors and uncouth vernacular render them 
peculiarly liable to be misunderstood. 

The conductor quite verified the good opinion which I 
had formed of him. He turtied a chair into a sofa, and 
lent me a bufiklo robe (for, hot though the day had been, 
the night was intensely cold), and several times brought 
me a cup of tea. We were talking on the peculiarities 
and amount of the breakage power on the American lines 
as compared with ours, and the interest of the subject 
made him forget to signal the engine-driver tr) stop at a 
station. The conversation concluded, he looked out of 
the window; " Dear me," he said, " we ought to have 
stopped three miles back ; likely there was no one to get 
out 1" 

At midnight I awoke shivering with cold, having taken 
nothing for twelve hours; but at two we stopped at 
something called by courtesy a station, and the announce- 
ment was ni^de, " Cars stop three minutes for refresh- 
ments." I got out; it was pitch dark; but I, with a 
young lady, followed a lantern into a frame-shed floored 
By the bare earth. Visions of Swindon and Wolverton 
rose before me, as 1 saw a long table supported on rude 
trestles, bearing several cups of steaming tea, while a 
dirty boy was opening and frizzling oysters by a wpod 
fire on the floor. I swallowed a cup of scalding tea ; 
some oysters were put upon my plate ; " Six cents" was 
shouted by a nasal voice in my ear, and, while hunting 
for the required sum, "All aboard" warned me to be 
quick ; and, jumping into the cars just as they were in 
. motion, I left my untasted supper on my plate. After 
** Show your tickets," frequently accompanied by a shake. 


had roused me several times from a sound sleep, we 
arrived at Rochester, an important town on the Gennessee 
Falls, surrounded by extensive clearings, then covered 
with hoar frost. 

Here we were told to get out, as there were twenty 
minutes for breakfast. But whither should we go when we 
had got out ? We were at the junction of several streets, 
and five engines, with cars attached, were snorting and 
moving about. After we had run the gauntlet of all these, 
I found men ringing bells, and negroes rushing about, 
tumbling over each other, striking gongs, and all shouting 
" The cheapest house in all the world — ^house for all 
nations — a splenderiferous breakfast for 20 cents!" and 
the like. At length, seeing an unassuming placard, ^' Hot 
breakfast, 25 cents," I ventured in, but an infusion of 
mint was served instead of the China leaf; and I should be 
afraid to pronounce upon the antecedents of the steaks. 
The next place of importance we reached was Buffalo, a 
large thriving town on the south shore of Lake Erie. 
1'here had been an election for Congress at some neigh- 
bouring place the day before, and my vis-a-vis^ the editor 
of a Buffalo paper, was arguing vociferously with a man 
on my right. 

At length he began to talk to me very vivaciously on 
politics, and concluded by asking me what I thought 
of the late elections. Wishing to put an end to the con- 
versation, which had become tedious, I replied that I was 
from England. " English ! you surprise me \" he said ; 
" you've not the English accent at all." " What do you 
think of our government ?" was his next question. " Con- 
sidering that you started free, and had to form your insti- 



tutions in an enlightened age, that you had the estimable 
parts of our constitution to copy from, while its faults were 
before you to serve as beacons, I think your constitution 
ought to be nearer perfection than it is." " I think our 
constitution is as near perfection as anything human can 
be ; we are the most free, enlightened, and progressive 
people under the sun," he answered, rather hotly ; but in 
a few minutes resuming the conversation with his former 
companion, I overheard him say, *' I think I shall give up 
politics altogether ; / don^t believe we have a single public 
man who is not corrupt J' " A melancholy result of a per- 
fect constitution, and a humiliating confession for an 
American," I observed. 

The conversations in the cars are well worth a tra- 
veller's attention. They are very frequently on politics, 
but often one hears stories such as the world has become 
familiarised with from the early pages of Barnum's Auto- 
biography, abounding in racy anecdote, broad humour, 
and cunning imposition. At Erie we changed cars, and 
I saw numerous emigrants sitting on large blue boxes, 
looking disconsolately about them ; the Irish physiognomy 
being the most predominant. They are generally so 
dirty that they travel by themselves in a partially lighted 
van, called the Emigrants' car, for a most trifling pay- 
ment. I. once got into one by mistake^ and was almost 
sickened by the smell of tobacco, spirits, dirty fustian, and 
old leather, which assailed my olfactory organs. Leaving 
Erie, beyond which the lake of the same name stretched 
to the distant horizon, blue and calm like a tideless sea, 
we entered the huge forests on the south shore, through 
which we passed, I suppose, for more than 100 miles. 


lA.'j next neighbour was a stalwart, bronzed Kentucky 
farmer, in a palm-leaf hat, who, strange to say, never 
made any demonstrations with his bowie-knife, and, having 
been a lumberer in these forests, pointed out all the 
objects of interest. 

The monotonous sublimity of these primeval woods far 
exceeded my preconceived ideas. We were locked in 
among gigantic trees of all descriptions, their huge stems 
frequently rising without a branch for a hundred feet ; 
then breaking into a crown of the most luxuriant foliage. 
There were walnut, hickory, elm, maple, beech, oak, 
pine, and hemlock trees, with many others which I did 
not know, and the only undergrowth, a tropical-looking 
plant, with huge leaves, and berries like bunches of 
purple grapes. Though it was the noon of an unclouded 
sun, all was dark, and still, and lonely ; no birds twittered 
from the branches; no animals enlivened the gloomy 
shades ; no trace of man or of his works was there, except 
the two iron rails on which we flew along, unfenced from 
the forest, and those trembling electric wires, which 
will only cease to speak with the extinction of man 

Very occasionally we would come upon a log shanty, 
that most picturesque of human habitations ; the walls 
formed of large logs, with the interstices filled up with 
clay, and the roof of rudely sawn boards, projecting one 
or two feet, and kept in their places by logs placed upon 
them. Windows and doors there were none, but, where 
a door was not^ I generally saw four or five shoeless, 
ragged urchins, whose light tangled hair and general 
aspect were sufiicient to denote their nationality. Some- 

Chap. TI. A FOREST ON FIRE. 113 

times these cabins would be surrounded by a little patch 
of cleared land, prolific in Indian com and pumpkins ; 
the brilliant orange of the latter contrasting with the 
charred stumps among which they grew ; but more fre- 
quently the lumberer supported himself solely by his axe. 
These dwellings are suggestive, for they are erected by 
the pioneers of civilization ; and if the future progress of 
America be equal in rapidity to its past, in another fifty 
years the forests will have been converted into lumber 
and firewood — rich and populous cities will have replaced 
the cabins and shanties- — and the children of the urchins 
who gazed vacantly upon the cars will have asserted their 
claims to a voice in the councils of the nation. 

The rays of the sun never penetrate the forest, and 
evening was deepening the gloom of the artificial twilight, 
when gradually we became enveloped in a glare, redder, 
fiercer, than that of moonlight; and looking a head I saw 
the forest on fire, and that we were rushing into the 
flames. *' Close the windows, there's a fire a-head," said 
the conductor ; and after obeying this commonplace direc- 
tion, many of the passengers returned to the slumbers 
which had been so unseasonably disturbed. On, on we 
rushed — the flames encircled us round — we were enveloped 
in clouds of stifling smoke — crack, crash went the trees — 
a blazing stem fell across the line—^the fender of the 
engine pushed it aside— the flames hissed like tongues of 
fire, and then, leaping like serpents, would rush up to the 
top of the largest tree, and it would blaze like a pine- 
knot, There seemed no egress ; but in a few minutes 
the raging, roaring conflagration was left behind. A 
forest on fire from a distance looks very much like 


* Punch's' picture of a naval review ; a near view is the 
height of sublimity. 

The dangers of the cars, to my inexperience, seemed 
by no means over with the escape from being roasted 
alive. A few miles from Cleveland they rushed down a 
steep incline, apparently into Lake Erie ; but in reality 
upon a platform supported on piles, so naiTow that the 
edges of the cars hung over it, so that I saw nothing but 
water. A gale was blowing, and drove the surf upon the 
platform, and the spray against the windows, giving such 
a feeling of insecurity, that for a moment I wished myself 
in one of our " 'coon sentry-boxes." The cars were very 
full after leaving Cleveland, but I contrived to sleep 
soundly till awakened by the intense cold which attends 

It was a glorious morning. The rosy light streamed 
over hills covered with gigantic trees, and park-like glades 
watered by the fair Ohio. There were bowers of myrtle, 
and vineyards ready for the vintage, and the rich aro- 
matic scent wafted from groves of blossoming magnolias 
told me that we were in a different clime, and had 
reached the sunny south. And before us, placed within 
a perfect amphitheatre of swelling hills; reposed a huge 
city, whose countless spires reflected the beams of the 
morning sun — the creation of yesterday — Cincinnati, the 
" Queen City of the West'' I drove straight to Burnet 
House, almost the finest edifice in the town, and after 
travelling a thousand miles in forty-two hours, without 
either water or a hair-brush, it was the greatest possible 
luxury to be able to remove the accumulations of soot, 
dust, and cinders of two days and nights. I spent three 

Chap. VI. CINCINNATI. 116 

days at Clifton, a romantic village three miles from Cin- 
cinnati, at the hospitable house of Dr. M'llvaine, the 
Bishop of Ohio ; but it would be an ill return for the 
kindness which I there experienced to give details of my 
visit, or gratify curiosity by describing family life in one 
of the " homes of the New World." 



The Queen City continued — Its beauties — Its inhabitants human and 
equine — An American church — Where chairs and bedsteads come 
from — Pigs and pork — A peep into Kentucky — Popular opinions 
respecting slavery — The curse of America. 

The important towns in the United States bear desig- 
nations of a more poetical nature than might be expected 
from so commercial a people. New York is the Empire 
City — Philadelphia the City of Brotherly Love — Cleve- 
land the Forest City — Chicago the Prairie City — and 
Cincinnati the Queen City of the West. These names 
are no less appropriate than poetical, and none more so 
than that applied to Cincinnati. The view from any of 
the terraced heights round the town is magnificent. I 
saw it first bathed in the mellow light of a declining sun. 
Hill beyond hill, clothed with the rich verdure of an 
almost tropical clime, slopes of vineyards just ready for 
the wine-press,* magnolias with their fragrant blossoms, 

♦ Grapes are grown in such profusion in the Southern and Western 
States, that I have seen damaged bunches thrown to the pigs. 
Americans find it difficult to understand how highly this fruit is prized 
in England. An American lady, when dining at Apsley House, ob- 
served that the Duke of Wellington was cutting up a cluster of grapes 
into small bunches, and she wondered that this illustrious man should 
give himself such unnecessary trouble. When the servant handed 
round the plate containing these, she took them all, and could not 
account for the amused and even censuring looks of some of the other 
guests, till she heard that it was expected that she should have helped 
herself to one bunch only of the hothouse treasure. 


and that queen of trees the beautiful ilanthus, the " tree 
of heaven " as it is called ; and everywhere foliage so 
luxuriant that it looked as if autumn and decay could 
never come. And in a hollow near us lay the huge city, 
so full of life, its busy hum rising to the height where I 
stood ; and 200 feet below, the beautiful cemetery, where 
its dead await the morning of the resurrection. Yet, 
while contrasting the trees and atmosphere here with the 
comparatively stunted, puny foliage of England, and the 
chilly skies of a northern clime, I thought with Cowper 
respecting my own dear, but far distant land — 

"England^ with aU thy faults I love thee still — 
My country I — 

I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies, 
And fields without a flower, for warmer France 
"With all her vines, nor for Ausonia's groves, 
Her golden fruitage, or her myrtle bowers." 

The change in the climate was great from that in which 
I had shivered a week before, with a thermometer at 
33° in the sun ; yet I did not find it oppressive here at 
105° in the shade, owing to the excessive dryness of the 
air. The sallow complexions of the New Englanders 
were also exchanged for the fat ruddy faces of the people 
of Ohio, the " Buckeyes^^ as their neighbours designate 
them. The town of Cincinnati, situated on the navigable 
stream of the Ohio, 1600 miles from the sea, is one of 
the most remarkable monuments of the progress of the 
West. A second Glasgow in appearance, the houses 
built substantially of red brick, six stories high — huge 
sign-boards outside each floor denoting the occupation of 
its owner or lessee— heavily-laden drays rumbling along 


the streets — quays at which steamboats of fairy archi- 
tecture are ever lying — massive warehouses and rich 
stores — the side walks a perfect throng of foot-passengers 
— the roadways crowded with light carriages, horsemen 
with palmetto hats and high-peaked saddles, galloping 
about on the magnificent horses of Kentucky— an air of 
life, wealth, bustle, and progress — are some of the cha- 
racteristics of a city which stands upon ground where 
sixty years ago an unarmed white man would have been 
tomahawked as he stood. The human aspect is also 
curious. Palmetto hats, light blouses, and white trow- 
sers form the prevailing costume even of the clergy, 
while Germans smoke chibouks and luxuriate in their 
shirt-sleeves — southerners, with the enervated look arising 
from residence in a hot climate, lounge about the streets 
— dark-browed Mexicans, in sombreros and high slashed 
boots, dash about on small active horses with Mamelouk 
bits — rovers and adventiu'ers from California and the 
Far West, with massive rings in their ears, swagger about 
in a manner which shows their country and calling, and 
females richly dressed are seen driving and walking about, 
from the fair-complexioned European to the negress or 
mulatto. The windows of the stores are arranged with 
articles of gaudy attire and heavy jewellery, suited to the 
barbaric taste of many of their customers ; but inside I 
was surprised to find the richest and most elegant manu- 
factures of Paris and London. A bookseller's store, an 
aggregate of two or three of our largest, indicated that 
the culture of the mind was not neglected. 

The number of carriages, invariably drawn by two 
horses, astonished me. They were the " red horses" of 


Kentucky and the jet black of Ohio, splendid, proud- 
looking animals, looking as if they could never tire or 
die. Except the " trotting baskets " and light waggons, 
principally driven by "swells" or " Young Americans," 
all the vehicles were covered, to preserve their inmates 
from the intense heat of the sun. In the evening hun- 
dreds, if not thousands, of carriages are to be seen in the 
cemetery and along the roads, some of the German 
ladies driving in low dresses and short sleeves. As every- 
body who has one hundred yards to go drives or rides, 
rings are fastened to all the side walks in the town to 
tether the horses to. Many of the streets are planted 
with the ilanthus-tree, and frequently one comes upon 
churches of tasteful architecture, with fretted spires 
pointing to heaven. 

I went upon the Ohio, lessened by long drought into 
a narrow stream, in a most commodious high-pressure 
steamboat, and deemed myself happy in returning un- 
injured ; for beautiful and fairy-like as these vessels are, 
between their own explosive qualities and the " snags and 
sawyers" of the rivers, their average existence is only 
five years ! 

Cincinnati in 1800 was a wooden village of 750 in- 
habitants; it is now a substantially- built brick town, con- 
taining 200,000 people, and thousands of- fresh settlers 
are added every year. There are nearly 50,000 Ger- 
mans, and I believe 40,000 Irish, who distinctly keep up 
their national characteristics. The Germans almost 
monopolise the handicraft trades, where they find a fruit- 
ful field for their genius and industry ; the Irish are here, 
as everywhere, hewers of wood and drawers of water ; 


they can do nothing hut dig, and seldom rise in the social 
scale ; the Germans, as at home, are a thinking, scep- 
tical, theorising people: in politics. Socialists— in religion, 
Atheists. The Irish are still the willing and ignorant 
tools of an ambitious and despotic priesthood. And in a 
land where no man is called to account, for his principles, 
unless they proceed to physical development, these errors 
grow and luxuriate. The Germans, in that part of the 
town almost devoted to themselves, have succeeded in 
practically abolishing the Sabbath, as they utterly ignore 
that divine institution even as a day of rest, keeping their 
stores open the whole day. The creeds which they pro- 
fess are '' Socialism''* and " Universalism," and at stated 
periods they assemble to hear political harangues, and 
address invocations to universal deity. Skilled, educated, 
and intellectual, they are daily increasing in numbers, 
wealth, and political importance, and constitute an in- 
fluence of which the Americans themselves are afraid. 

The Irish are a turbulent class, for ever appealing to 
physical force, influencing the elections, and carrying out 
their "clan feuds" and " faction fights." The Germans, 
finding it a land like their own, of corn and vineyards, 
have named the streets in their locality in Cincinnati after 
their toyma in the Old World, to which in idea one is fre- 
quently carried back. 

On Sunday, after passing through this continental 
portion of the town, I found all was order and decorum 
in the strictly American part, where the whole population 
seemed to attend worship of one form or another. The 
church which 1 attended was the most beautiful place of 
worship I ever saw ; it had neither the hallowed but com- 


fortless antiquity of our village churches, nor the glare 
and crush of our urban temples ; it was of light Nor- 
man architecture, and lighted by windows of rich stained 
glass. The pews were wide, the backs low, and the doors 
and mouldings were of polished oak ; the cushions and 
linings were of crimson damask, and light fans for real 
use were hung in each pew. The pulpit and reading- 
desk, both of carved oak and of a tulip shape, were placed 
in front of the communion-rails, on a spacious platform 
ascended by three steps — this, the steps, and the aisles of 
the church were carpeted with beautiful Kidderminster 
carpeting. The singing and chanting were of a very 
superior description, being managed, as also a very fine- 
toned organ, by the young ladies and gentlemen of the 
congregation. The ladies were more richly dressed and 
in brighter colours than the English, and many of them 
in their features and complexions bore evident traces of 
African and Spanish blood. The gentlemen universally 
wore the moustache and beard, and generally blue or 
green frock-coats, the collars turned over with velvet. 
The responses were repeated without the assistance of a 
clerk, and the whole service was conducted with decorum 
and effect. 

The same favourable description may apply generally 
to the churches of different denominations in the United 
States ; coldness and discomfort are not considered as 
incentives to devotion ; and the houses of worship are ever 
crowded with regular and decorous worshippers. 

Cincinnati is the outpost of manufacturing civilization, 
though large, important, but at present unfinished cities 
are rapidly springing up several hundred miles farther to 


122 MAlfUFACTUEES. Chap. YII. 

the west. It has regular freight steamers to New Or- 
leans, St. Louis, and other places on the Missouri and 
Mississippi ; to Wheeling and Pittsburgh, and thence by 
railway to the great Atlantic cities, Philadelphia and 
Baltimore, while it is connected with the Canadian lakes 
by railway and canal to Cleveland. HU I thoroughly 
understood that Cincinnati is the centre of a circle em- 
bracing the populous towns of the south, and the in- 
creasing populations of the lake countries and the western 
territories, with their ever-growing demand for the fruits 
of manufacturing industry, I could not understand the 
utility of the vast establishments for the production of 
household goods which arrest the attention of the visitor 
to the Queen City. There is a furniture establishment 
in Baker Street, London, which employs perhaps eighty 
hands, and we are rather inclined to boast of it, but we 
must keep silence when we hear of a factory as large as 
a Manchester cotton-mill, five stwies high, where 260 
hands are constantly employed in making chairs, tables, 
and bedsteads. 

At the factory of Mitchell and Rammelsberg common 
chairs are the principal manufacture, and are turned out 
at the rate of 2500 a week, worth from 11. to 5/. a dozen. 
Rocking-chairs, which are only made in perfection in the 
States^ are fabricated here, also chests of drawers, of 
which 2000 are made annually. Baby-rocking cribs, in 
which the brains of the youth of America are early 
habituated to perpetual restlessness, are manufactured 
here in surprising quantities. The workmen at this fac- 
tory (most of whom are native Americans and Germans, 
the English and Scotch being rejected on account of their 


intemperance) earn from 12 to 14 dollars a week. At 
another factory 1000 bedsteads^ worth from 1/. to 5/. 
each, are completed every week. There are vast boot 
and shoe factories, which would have shod our whole 
Crimean army in a week, at one of which the owner pays 
60,000 dollars or 12,000/. in wages annually ! It con- 
sumes 5000 pounds weight of boot-nails per annum! 
The manufactories of locks and guns, tools, and carriages, 
with countless other appliances of civilized life, are on a 
similarly large scale. Their products are to be found 
among the sugar plantations of the south, the diggers of 
California, the settlers in Oregon, in the infant cities of 
the far West, the tent of the hunter, and the shanty of 
the emigrant ; in one word, wherever demand and supply 
can be placed in conjunction. 

And wliile the demand is ever increasing as the tide 
of emigration rolls westward, so the inventive brains of 
the Americans are ever discovering some mechanical 
means of abridging manual labour, which seldom or ever 
meets the demand. The saws, axes, and indeed all cutting 
tools made at respectable establishments in the States, are 
said to be superior to ours. On going into a hardware 
store at Hamilton in Upper Canada, I saw some English 
spades and axes, and I suppose my face expressed some 
of the admiration which my British pride led me to feel ; 
fen* the owner, taking up some spades and cutting-tools 
of Cincinnati manufacture, said, " We can only sell these ; 
the others are bad workmanship, and won't stand two days' 
hard work." 

Articles of English manufacture are not seen in con- 
siderable quantities in the wholesale stores, and even the 

G 2 


import of foreign wines has been considerably diminished 
by the increasingly successful culture of the grape in 
Ohio, 130,000 gallons of wine having been produced in 
the course of the year. Wines resembling hock, claret, 
and champagne are made, and good judges speak very 
highly of them. 

Cincinnati is famous for its public libraries and reading- 
rooms. The Young Men's Mercantile Library Associa- 
tion has a very handsome suite of rooms opened as 
libraries and reading-rooms, the number of books amount- 
ing to 16,000, these, with upwards of 100 newspapers, 
being well selected by a managing committee ; none of 
our English works of good repute being a-wanting. The 
facility with which English books are reprinted in Ame- 
rica, and the immense circulation which they attain in 
consequence of their cheapness, greatly increases the 
responsibility which rests upon our authors as to the 
direction which they give, whether for good or evil, to the 
intelligent and inquiring minds of the youth of America — 
minds ceaselessly occupied, both in religion and politics, 
in investigation and inquiry — in overturning old systems 
before they have devised new ones. 

I believe that the most important religious denomina- 
tions in Cincinnati are the Episcopalian, the Baptist, and 
the Wesleyan. The first is under the superintendence of 
the learned and pious Bishop M'llvaine, whose apostolic 
and untiring labours have greatly advanced the cause of 
religion in the State of Ohio. There is a remarkable ab- 
sence of sectarian spirit, and the ministers of all orthodox 
denominations act in harmonious combination for the 
general good. 

Chap. VII. PIGS AND PORK. 125 

But after describing the beauty of her streets, her 
astonishing progress, and the splendour of her shops, I 
must not close this chapter without stating that the Queen 
City bears the less elegant name of Porkopolis ; that swine, 
lean, gaunt, and vicious-looking, riot through her streets ; 
and that, on coming out of the most splendid stores, one 
stumbles over these disgusting intruders. Cincinnati is 
the city of pigs. As there is a railway system and a hotel 
system, so there is also a pig system^ by which this place 
is marked out from any other. Huge quantities of J;hese 
useful animals are reared after harvest in the corn-fields 
of Ohio, and on the beech-mast and acorns of its gigantic 
forests. At a particular time of year they arrive by 
thousands — ^brought in droves and steamers to the number 
of 500,000 — to meet their doom, when it is said that the 
Ohio runs red with blood 1 There are huge slaughter- 
houses behind the town, something on the plan of the 
abattoirs of Paris — large wooden buildings, with nume- 
rous pens, from whence the pigs march in single file along 
a narrow passage, to an apartment where each, on his 
entrance, receives a blow with a hammer, which deprives 
him of consciousness, and in a short time, by means of 
numerous hands, and a well-managed caldron system, he 
is cut up ready for pickling. The day on which a pig is 
killed in England constitutes an era in the family history 
of the year, and squeals of a terrific description announce 
the event to the neighbourhood. Tliere is not time or 
opportunity for such a process at Porkopolis, and the first 
notification which the inhabitants receive of the massacre 
is the thousand barrels of pork on the quays, ready to be 
conveyed to the Atlantic cities, for exportation to the 


European markets. At one establishment 12,000 pigs 
are killed, pickled, and packed every fall; and in the 
whole neighbourhood, as I have heard in the cars, the 
" hog crop" is as much a subject of discussion and specu- 
lation as the cotton crop of Alabama, the hop-picking of 
Kent, or the harvest in England. 

Kentucky, the land, by reputation, of ^'red horses, 
bowie-knives, and gouging," is only separated from Ohio 
by the river Ohio ; and on a day when the thermometer 
stood at 103° in the shade I went to the town of Covington. 
Marked, wide, and almost inestimable, is the difference 
between the free state of Ohio and the slave-state of Ken- 
tucky. They have the same soil, the same climate, and 
precisely the same natural advantages ; yet the total ab- 
sence of progress, if not the appearance of retrogression 
and decay, the loungers in the streets, and the peculiar 
appearance of the slaves, afford a contrast to the bustle on 
the opposite side of the river, which would strike the 
most unobservant. I was credibly informed that property 
of the same real value was worth 300 dollars in Ken- 
tucky and 3000 in Ohio I Free emigrants and workmen 
will not settle in Kentucky, where they would be brought 
into contact with compulsory slave-labour ; thus the de- 
velopment of industry is retarded, and the difference will 
become more apparent every year, till possibly some 
great changes will be forced upon the legislature. Few 
English people will forget the impression made upon them 
by the first sight of a slave — a being created in the image 
of God, yet the bond fide property of his fellow-man. 
The first I saw was an African female, the slave of a lady 
from Florida, with a complexion black as the law which 

Chap. VII. SLAVERY. 127 

held her in captivity. The subject of slavery is one which 
has lately been brought so prominently before the British 
people by Mrs. Beecher Stowe, that I shall be pardoned 
for making a few remarks upon it. Powerfully written, as 
the hook is, and much as I admire the benevolent intentions 
of the writer, I am told that the effect of the volume has 
been prejudical, and this assertion is borne out by persons 
well acquainted with the subject in the free states. A 
gentleman very eminent in his country, as having de- 
voted himself from his youth to the cause of abolition, as 
a steadfast pursuer of one grand principle, together with 
other persons, say that " ' Uncle Tom's Cabin' had thrown 
the cause back for many years !"* The excitement on 
the subject still continues in England, though it found a 
safety-valve in the Stafford House manifesto, and the 
received impression, which no force of fact can alter, is, 
that slave-owners are divided into but two classes — bru- 
talised depraved ^^Legrees^^^ or enthusiastic, visionary 
"/Sf. Clairs*' — the former, of course, predominating. 

Slavery, though under modifications which rendered it 
little more than the apprenticeship of our day, was per^ 
mitted imder the Mosaic dispensation ; but it is con- 
trary to the whole tenor of Christianity ; and a system 
which lowers man as an intellectual and responsible 
bemg is no less morally than politically wrong. That it 
is a political mistake is plainly evidenced by the retarded 

* It must be observed that I do not offer any opinion of my own 
upon ' Uncle Tom's Cabin/ or upon the estimation in which it is held 
in the United States ; but in order to answer questions which have 
frequently been put to me upon the subject, I have just given the sub- 
stance- of the remarks which have been made upon it by abolitionists in 
the Northern States. 

128 SLAVERY. Chap. VII. 

development and apparent decay of the Southern States, 
as compared with the ceaseless material progress of the 
North and West. It cannot be doubted that in Ala- 
bama, Florida, and Louisiana, '* Legrees^ are to be found, 
for cruelty is inherent in base natures ; we have " Legrees^ 
in our factories and coal-pits; but in England their most 
terrible excesses are restrained by the strong arm of law, 
which, when appealed to^ extends its protection to the 
feeblest and most helpless. What then must such men 
become in the isolated cotton or sugar plantations of the 
South, distant from the restraints which public opinion 
exercises, and where the evidence of a slave is inadmissible 
in a court of justice ? The full extent of the cruelties 
practised will never be known, until revealed at the solemn 
tribunal of the last day. But we dare not hope that such 
men are rare, though circumstances of self-interest com- 
bine to form a class of slaveowners of a higher grade, 
lliese are men who look upon their slaves as we do upon 
our cows and horses — as mere animal property, of greater 
or less value according to the care which is taken of 
them. The slaves of these persons are well clothed, 
lodged, and fed ; they are not overworked, and dancing, 
singing, and other amusements, which increase health and 
cheerfulness, are actively promoted. But the system is 
one which has for its object the transformation of reason 
into instinct — the lowering of a rational being into a 
machine scarcely more intelligent in appearance than 
some of our own ingeniously-contrived steam-engines. 
Religious teaching is withheld, reading is forbidden, and 
the instruction of a slave in it punished as a crime, lest he 
should learn that freedom is his birthright. 

Chap. VIL SLAVERY. 129 

A third and very large class of slave-owners is to be 
found, who, having inherited their property in slaves, want 
the means of judiciously emancipating them. The negroes 
are not in a condition to receive freedom in the reckless 
way in which some abolitionists propose to bestow it 
upon them. They must be prepared for it by instruction 
in the precepts of religion, by education, and by the re- 
ception of those principles of self-reliance, without which 
they have not the moral perception requisite to enable 
them to appreciate the blessings of freedom ; and this 
very ignorance and obtuseness is one of the most telling 
arguments against the system which produces it. The 
want of this previous preparation has been frequently 
shown, particularly in Kentucky, where whole bodies of 
emancipated slaves, after a few days' experience of their new 
condition, have entreated for a return to servitude. These 
slave-owners of whom I now speak deeply deplore the cir- 
cumstances under which they are placed, and, while wanting 
the spirit of self-sacrifice, and the moral courage, which 
would lead them, by manumitting their slaves, to enter 
into a novel competition with slave-labour on other estates, 
do their best to ameliorate the condition in which the 
Africans are placed, encouraging them, by the sale of 
little articles of their own manufacture, to purchase their 
freedom, which is granted at a very reduced rate. I had 
opportunities of conversing with several of these freed 
negroes, and they all expressed attachment to their late 
owners, and spoke of the mildness with which they were 
treated, saying that the great threat made use of was to 
send them " down south'* 

The slaves in the northern slave States are a thought- 

G 3 

130 SLAVERY. Chap. VII. 

less, happy set, spending their evenings in dancing or 
sin^ng to the banja ; and * Oh, carry me back to Old 
Virginny,' or * Susannah, don't you cry for me,' may be 
heard on summer evenings rising from the maize and 
tobacco grounds of Kentucky. Yet, whether naturally 
humane instincts may lead to merciful treatment of the 
slave, or the same result be accomplished by the rigorous 
censorship of public opinion in the border States, apart 
from the abstract question of slavery, that system is 
greatly to be reprobated which gives power without re- 
aponsibility, and permits the temporal, yes, the eternal 
well-being of another to depend upon the will and caprice 
of a man, when the victim of his injustice is deprived of 
the power of appeal to an earthly tribunal. Instances of 
severe treatment on one side, and of kindness on the other, 
cannot fairly be brought as arguments for or against the 
system ; it must be justified or condemned ^by the unde- 
viating law of moral right as laid down in divine revela- 
tion. Slavery existed in 1850 in 15 out of 31 States, 
the number of slaves being 3,204,345, connected by sym- 
pathy and blood with 433,643 coloured persons, nomi- 
nally free, but who occupy a social position of the lowest 
grade. It is probable that this number will increase, as 
it has hitherto done, in a geometrical ratio, which will 
give 6,000,000, in 1875, of a people dangerous from num- 
bers merely, but doubly, trebly so in their consciousness 
of oppression, and in the passions which may incite them 
to a terrible revenge. America boasts of freedom, and of 
such a progress as the world has never seen before ; but 
while the tide of the Anglo-Saxon race rolls across her 
continent, and while we contemplate with pleasure a 

Chap. VII. SLAVERY. 131 

vast nation governed by free institutions, and professing a 
pure faithy a hand, faintly seen at present, but destined 
ere long to force itself upon the attention of all, points to 
the empires of a by-gone civilisation, and shows that they 
had their periods in which to rise, flourish, and decay, and 
that slavery was the main cause of that decay. The 
exasperating reproaches addressed to the Americans, in 
ignorance of the real difficulties of dealing with the case, 
have done much harm in inciting that popular clamour 
which hurries on reckless legislation. The problem is one 
which occupies the attention of thinking and Christian 
men on both sides of the Atlantic, but still remains a 
gigantic evil for philanthropists to mourn over, and for 
politicians to correct. 

An unexceptional censure ought not to be pronounced 
without a more complete knowledge of the subject thail 
can be gained from novels and newspapers ; still less ought 
this censure to extend to America as a whole, for the 
people of the Northern States are more ardent abolition- 
ists than ourselves — more consistent, in fact, for they have 
no white slaves, no oppressed factory children, the cry of 
whose wrongs ascends daily into the ears of an avenging 
Judge. Still, blame must attach to them for the way in 
which they place the coloured people in an inferior social 
position, a ri^d system of exclusiveness shutting them 
out from the usual places of amusement and education. 
It must not be forgotten that England bequeathed this 
system to her colonies, though she has nobly blotted it 
out from those which still own her sway ; that it is encou- 
raged by the cotton lords of Preston and Manchester ; 
and that the great measure of negro emancipation was 


132 SLAVERY. Chap. VII. 

carried, not by the violent declamation and ignorant rail- 
ings of men who sought popularity by exciting the pas- 
sions of the multitude, but by the persevering exertions 
and practical Christian philanthropy of Mr. Wilberforce 
and his coadjutors. It is naturally to be expected that a 
person writing a book on America would offer some re- 
marks upon this subject, and raise a voice, however feeble, 
against so gigantic an evil. The conclusions which I have 
stated in the foregoing pages are derived from a careful 
comparison and study of facts which I have learned from 
eminent speakers and writers both in favour of and against 
the slave-system. 



The hickory stick — Chawing up niins — A forest scene — A curious 
questioner — Hard and soft shells — Dangers of a ferry — The west- 
em prairies — Nocturnal detention — The Wild West and the Father 
of Rivers — Breakfast in a shed — What is an alligator? — Phy- 
Biognomy, and its uses — The ladies' parlour — A Chicago hotel, its 
inmates and its horrors — A water-drinking people — The Prairie 
City — Progress of the West. 

A BRIGHT September sun glittered upon the spires of 
Cincinnati as I reluctantly bade it adieu^ and set out in 
the early morning by the cars to join my travelling com- 
panions, meaning to make as long a dStour as possible, 
or, as a " down-east" lady might say, to " make a pretty 
considerable circumlocution." Fortunately I had met 
with some friends, well acquainted with the country, who 
oflFered to take me round a much larger circle than I had 
contemplated ; and with a feeling of excitement such as 
I had not before experienced, we started for the Missis- 
sippi and the western prairies en route to Detroit. 

Bishop M'llvaine, anxious that a very valued friend of 
his in England should possess something from Ohio, had 
cut down a small sapling, which, when divested of its 
branches and otherwise trimmed, made a very formidable- 
looking bludgeon or cudgel, nearly four feet long. This 
being too lengthy for my trunks was tied to my umbrella, 
and on this day in the cars excited no little curiosity, 
several persons eyeing it, then me, as if wondering in 


what relation we stood to each other. Finally they took 
it up» minutely examining it, and tapping it as if to see 
whether anything were therein concealed. It caused me 
much amusement, and, from its size, some annoyance, till 
at length, wishing to leave it in my room at a Toronto 
hotel while I went for a visit of a few days, the waiter 
brought it down to the door, asking me ^* if I wished to 
take the cudffelf^* After this I had it shortened, and it 
travelled in my trunk to New York, where it was given 
to a carver to be fashioned into a walking-stick ; and, un- 
less the tradesman played a Yankee trick, and substituted 
another, it is now, after surviving many dangers by sea 
and land, in the possession of the gentleman for whom it 
was intended. 

Some amusing remarks were made upon England by 
some of the ^' Buckeyes," as the inhabitants of Ohio are 
called. On trying to persuade a lady to go with me to 
St Louis, I observed that it was <mly five hundred miles. 
" Five hundred miles 1" she replied ; " why, you'd tumble 
off your paltry island into the sea before you got so far !" 
Another lady, who got into the cars at some distance 
from Cincinnati, could not understand the value which we 
set upon ruins. " We should chaw them up," she said, 
" make roads or bridges of them, unless Bamum trans- 
ported them to his museum : we would never keep them 
on our own hook as you do." " You value them your- 
selves," I answered ; " any one would be * lynched^ who 
removed a stone of Ticonderoga." It was an unfortu- 
nate speech, for she archly replied, " Our only ruins are 
British fortifications, and we go to see them because they 
remind us that we whipped the nation which whips all the 

CifAP. vm. STATE OP OHIO. 135 

world." The Americans, however, though they may talk 
80, would give anything if they could appropriate a Kenil- 
worth Castle, or a Melrose or a Tlntem Ahhey, with 
its covering of ivy, and make it sustain some episode 
of their history. But though they can make railways, 
ivy is beyond them, and the purple heather disdains the 
soil of the New World. A very amusing ticket was 
given me on the Mad River line. It bore the com- 
mand, " Stick this cheqk in your ," the blank being 

filled up with a little engraving of a hat ; consequently 
I saw all the gentlemen with small pink embellishments to 
the covering of their heads. 

We passed through a large and very beautiful portion 
of the State of Ohio ; the soil, wherever cultivated, teem- 
ing with crops, and elsewhere with a vegetation no less 
beautiful than luxuriant ; a mixture of small weed prai- 
ries, and forests of splendid timber. Extensive districts 
of Ohio are still without inhabitants, yet its energetic 
people have constructed within a period of five years half 
as many miles of railroad as the whole of Great Britain 
contains ; they are a ^^ great people^^ they do "^o a-head^^ 
these Yankees. The newly cleared soil is too rich for 
wheat for many years ; it grows Indian com for thirty 
in succession, without any manure. Its present popula- 
tion is under three millions, and it is estimated that it 
would support a population of ten millions, almost entirely 
in agricultural pursuits. We were going a-head, and in 
a few hours arrived at Forest, the junction of the Clyde, 
Mad River, and Indiana lines. 

Away with all English ideas which may be conjured up 
by the word junction — the labyrinth of iron rails, the 

136 A QXTEEIST. Chap. VIII, 

smart policeman at the points, the handsome station, and 
elegant refreshment-rooms. Here was a dense forest, 
with merely a clearing round the rails, a small shanty for 
the man who cuts wood for the engine, and two sidings 
for the trains coming in different directions. There was 
not even a platform for passengers, who, to the number of 
two or three hundred, were standing on the clearing, 
resting against the stumps of trees. And yet for a few 
minutes every day the bustle of life pervades this lonely 
spot, for here meet travellers from east, west, and south ; 
the careworn merchant from the Atlantic cities, and the 
hardy trapper from the western prairies. We here 
changed cars for those of the Indianapolis line, and, nearly 
at the same time with three other trains, plunged into the 
depths of the forest. 

" You 're from down east, I guess ?" said a sharp nasal 
voice behind me. — This was a supposition first made in 
the Portland cars, when I was at a loss to know what 
distinguishing and palpable peculiarity marked me as 
a " down-easter." Better informed now, I replied, 
««I am." "Going west ?"—" Yes." "Travelling 
alone ?" — ** No." " Was you raised down east ?" — 
" No, in the Old Country." " In the little old island ? 
well, you are kinder glad to leave it, I guess ? Are you 
a widow ?" — ** No." " Are you travelling on business ?" 
— " No." " What business do you follow ?"— « None." 
" Well, now, what are you travelling for ?" — " Health 
and pleasure." " Well, now, I guess you 're pretty con- 
siderable rich. Coming to settle out west, I suppose ?" 
— " No, I 'm going back at the end of the fall." " Well, 
now, if that's not a pretty tough hickory-nut 1 I guess 


you Britishers are the queerest critturs as ever was 
raised I" I considered myself quite fortunate to have 
fallen in with such a querist, for the Americans are 
usually too much taken up with their own business to 
trouble themselves about yours, beyond such questions 
as, "Are you bound west, stranger?" or, "You're firom 
down east, I guess." "Why do you take me for a 
down-easter f" I asked once. "Because you speak like 
one," was the reply ; the frequent supposition that I was 
a New Englander being nearly as bad as being told that 
I " had not the English accent at all." I was glad to be 
taken for an American, as it gave me a better opportunity 
of seeing things as they really are. An Englbh person 
going about staring and questioning, with a note-book in 
his hand, is considered " fair game," and consequently is 
^^ crammed" on all subjects; stories of petticoated table- 
legs, and fabulous horrors of the bowie-knife, being 
among the smallest of the absurdities swallowed. 

Our party consisted of five persons besides myself, two 
elderly gentlemen, the niece of one of them, and a young 
married couple. They knew the governor of Indiana, 
and a candidate for the proud position of Senator, also 
our fellow travellers; and the conversation assumed a 
political character ; in fact, they held a long parliament, 
for I think the discussion lasted for three hours. Extra- 
ordinary, and to me unintelligible names, were bandied 
backwards and forwards ; I heard of " Silver Grays," but 
my companions were not discussing a breed of fowls ; and 
of " Hard Shells," and " Soft Shells," but the merits 
of eggs were not the topic. " Whigs and Democrats " 
seemed to be analogous to our Radicals, and "Know- 

138 DANGERS OF A FEEET. Chap. Till. 

Nothings " to be a respectable and constitutional party. 
Whatever minor differences my companions had, they all 
seemed agreed in hating the " Nebraska men '* (the ad- 
vocates of an extension of slavery), who one would have 
thought, from the epithets applied to them, were a set of 
thieves and cut-throats. A gentleman whose whole life 
had been spent in opposition to the principles which they 
are bringing forward was very violent, and the pretty 
young lady, Mrs. Wood, equally so. 

After stopping for two hours at a wayside shed, we set 
out again at dark for La Fayette,* which we reached 
at nine. These Western cars are crammed to over- 
flowing, and, having to cross a wide stream in a ferry- 
boat, the crush was so terrible, that I was nearly 
knocked down ; but as American gentlemen freely use 
their canes where a lady is in the case, I fared better 
than some of my fellow-passengers, who had their coat- 
tails torn and their toes barbarously crushed in the 
crowd. The steam ferry-boat had no parapet, and the 
weakest were pushed to the side ; the centre was filled up 
with baggage, carts, and horses ; and vessels were moored 
along the river, with the warps crossing each other, to 
which we had to bow continually to avoid decapitation. 
When we reached the wharf, quantities of people were 
waiting to go to the other side ; and directly the gang- 
way-board was laid, there was a simultaneous rush of 
two opposing currents, and, the insecure board slipping, 

* From the frequent recurrence of the same names, the great distance 
travelled over, the short halt we made at any place, and the absence of 
a railway guide, I have been imable to give our route from Cincinnati 
to Chicago with more than an approximation to correctness. 


they were all precipitated into the water. Fortunately it 
was not deep, so they merely underwent its cooling influ- 
ences, which they bore with admirable equanimity, only 
one making a bitter complaint, that he had spoiled bis ^^go' 
tihrneetins^ The farther west we went, the more dangerous 
the neighbourhood became. At all the American stations 
there are placards warning people to beware of pickpockets ; 
but from Indiana westward they bore the caution, *' Beware 
of pickpockets, swindlers, and luggage-thieves." At many 
of the depdts there is a general rush for the last car, for the 
same reason that there is a scramble for the stem cabins 
in a steamer, — viz. the explosive qualities of the boilers. 

We travelled the whole of that nighty our fellow- 
passengers becoming more extravagant in appearance at 
every station, and morning found us on the prairies. 
Cooper influences our youthful imaginations by telling 
us of the prairies — Mayne Reid makes us long to cross 
them; botanists tell us of their flowers, sportsmen of 
their bufialoes* — but without seeing them few people can 
form a correct idea of what they are really like. 

The sun rose over a monotonous plain covered with 
grass, rank, high, and silky-looking, blown before the 
breeze into long, shiny waves. The sky was blue above, 
and the grass a brownish green beneath ; wild pigeons 
and turkeys flew over our heads ; the horizontal line had 
not a single inequality ; all was hot, unsuggestive, silent, 
and monotonous. This was the grass prairie. 

A belt of low timber would bound the expanse, and on 

* At the present time no wild animals are to be found eafit of the 
Mississippi; so effectually has civilization changed the character of the 
ancient hunting-grounds of the Indians. 


the other side of it a green sea would open before us, 
stretching as far as the eye could reach — stationary 
billows of earthy covered with short green grass, which, 
waving beneath the wind, completed the oceanic illusion. 
This was the rolling prairie. 

Again a belt of timber, and a flat surface covered with 
flowers, brilliant even at this season of tlie year ; though, 
of the most gorgeous, nothing remained but the withered 
stalks. The ground was enamelled with lilies, the heli* 
anthus and cineraria flourished, and the deep-green leaves 
and blue blossom of the lupin contrasted with the prickly 
stem and scarlet flower of the euphorbia. For what 
purpose was '' the wilderness made so gay where for 
years no eye sees it," but to show forth his goodness who 
does what he will with his own ? This was the weed 
prairie, more fitly termed " the Garden of God." 

These three kinds of prairie were continually alter- 
nating with belts of timber and small lakes; but few 
signs of population were apparent during that long day*s 
journey. We occasionally stopped for water at shanties 
on the prairies, and took in two or three men ; but this 
vast expanse of fertile soil still must remain for many 
years a field for the enterprise of the European races. 

Towards evening we changed cars again, and took in 
stores of refreshment for our night's journey, as little 
could be procured along the route. What strange people 
now crammed the cars! Traders, merchants, hunters, 
diggers, trappers, and adventurers from every land, most 
of them armed to the teeth, and not without good reason ; 
for within the last few months, Indians, enraged at the 
aggressions of the white men, have taken a terrible 


rerenge upou western travellers. Some of their rifles 
were of most costly workmanship, and were nursed with 
paternal care by their possessors. On the seat in front 
of me were two " prairie-men/' such as are described in 
the * Scalp-Hunters,' though of an inferior grade to St. 
Vrain. Fine specimens of men they were; tall, hand- 
some, broad-chested, and athletic^ with aquiline noses, 
piercing grey eyes, and brown curling hair and beards. 
They wore leathern jackets, slashed and embroidered, 
leather smallclothes, large boots with embpoidered tops, 
silver spurs, and caps of scarlet cloth, worked with some- 
what tarnished gold thread, doubtless the gifts of some 
fair ones enamoured of the handsome physiognomies and 
reckless bearing of the hunters. Dulness fled from their 
presence ; they could tell stories, whistle melodies, and 
sing comic songs without weariness or cessation : fortunate 
were those near enough to be enlivened by their drolleries 
during the tedium of a night detention. Each of them 
wore a leathern belt — with two pistols stuck into it — gold 
earrings, and costly rings. Blithe, cheerful souls they 
were, telling racy stories of Western life, chivalrous in 
their manners, and free as the winds. 

There were Califomians dressed for the diggings, with 
leather pouches for the gold-dust ; Mormons on their way 
to Utah ; and restless spirits seeking for that excitemei^ 
and variety which they had sought for in vain in civilized 
life 1 And conveying this motley assortment of human 
beings, the cars dashed along, none of their inmates 
heeding each other, or perhaps Him 

<« who heeds and holds them all 

In his large love and boundless thought." 


At eleven we came to an abrupt pause upon the 
prairie. After waiting quietly for some time without 
seeing any vestiges of a station, my friends got out to 
inquire the cause of the detention, when we found that a 
freight-train had broken down in front, and that we might 
be dStenus for some time, a mark for Indian bullets! 
Refireshments were produced and clubbed together ; the 
" prairie-men " told stories ; the hunters looked to their 
rifles, and polished their already resplendent chasing; 
some Mexicans sang Spanish songs, a New Englander 
' Yankee Doodle ;' some guessed^ others calculated, till 
at last all grew sleepy : the trappers exhausted their 
stories, the singers their songs, and a Mormon, who bad 
been setting forth the peculiar advantages of his creed, 
the patience of his auditors — till at length sonorous 
sounds^ emitted by numerous nasal organs, proving in- 
fectious, I fell asleep to dream confusedly of ' Yankee 
Doodle,' pistols, and pickpockets. 

In due time I awoke ; we were stopping still, and 
there was a light on our right. " We're at Rock Island, 
I suppose ?" I asked sleepily. A laugh from my friends 
and the hunters followed the question ; after which they 
informed me in the most polite tones that we were where 
we had been for the last five hours, namely stationary on 
the prairie. The intense cold and heavy dew whidi 
accompany an American dawn made me yet more amazed 
at the characteristic patience with which the Americans 
submit to an unavoidable necessity, however disagreeable. 
It is true that there were complaints of cold, and heavy 
sighs, but no blame was imputed to any one, and the 
quiescence of my companions made me quite ashamed of 


my English impatience. In England we should have 
bad a perfect chorus of complaints, varied by " rowing " 
the conductor, abuse of the company, and resolutions to 
write to the Times, or bring up the subject of railway 
mismanagement in the House of Commons. These people 
sat quietly, ate, slept, and smoked, and were thankful 
when the cars at last moved off to their destination. 

On we flew to the West, the land of Wild Indians 
and buffaloes, on the narrow rims of metal with which 
this " great people " is girdling the earth. Evening sue* 
ceeded noon, and twilight to the blaze of a summer day ; 
the yellow sun sank cloudless behind the waves of the 
rolling prairie, yet still we hurried on, only stopping 
our headlong course to take in wood and water at some 
nameless stations. When the sun set, it set behind the 
}urairie waves. I was oblivious of any changes during 
the night, and at rosy dawn an ocean of long green 
grass encircled us round. Still on — belts of timber di- 
versify the prospect — we rush into a thick wood, and, 
emerging from it, arrive at Rock Island, an unfinished- 
looking settlement, which might bear the name of the 
Desert City, situated at the confluence of the Rock River 
and Mississippi. We stop at a little wharf, where waits 
a little steamer of uncouth construction ; we step in, a 
steam-whistle breaks the silence of that dewy dawn, and 
at a very rapid rate we run between high wooded bluffs, 
down a turbid stream, whirling in rapid eddies. We 
steam for three miles, and land at a clearing contain- 
ing the small settlement of Davenport. We had come 
down the Mississippi, mightiest of rivers ! half a mile 
wide seventeen hundred miles from its mouth, and were 


in thenar TFest. Waggons with white tilts, thick-hided 
oxen with heavy yokes, mettlesome steeds with high 
peaked saddles, picketed to stumps of trees, lashing away 
the flies with their tails ; emigrants on blue boxes, won- 
dering if this were the El Dorado of their dreams ; arms, 
accoutrements, and baggage surrounded the house or 
shed where we were to breakfast. Most of our com- 
panions were bound for Nebraska, Oregon, and Utah, 
the most distant districts of which they would scarcely 
reach with their slow-paced animals for four months ; 
exposed in the mean time to the attacks of the Sioux, 
Comanches, and Blackfeet. 

There, in a long wooden shed with blackened rafters 
and an eartiien floor, we breakfasted, at seven o'clock, on 
johnny-cake, squirrels, buflalo-hump, dampers, and buck- 
wheat, tea and com spirit, with a crowd of emigrants, 
hunters, and adventurers; and soon after re-embarked 
for Rock Island, our little steamer with difliculty stem- * 
ming the mighty tide of the Father of Rivers. The. 
machinery, such as it was, was very visible, the boiler 
patched in several places, and steam escaped in different 
directions. I asked the captain if he were not in the 
habit of " sitting upon the safety-valve," but he stoutly 
denied the charge. The vernacular of this neighbour- 
hood was rather startling to an English ear. " Who's 
the alligator to hum ? " asked a broad-shouldered Ken- 
tuckian of his neighbour, pointing to a frame shanty on 
the shore, which did not look to me like the abode of that 
amphibious and carnivorous creature. " Well, old alli- 
gator, what's the time o' day?" asked another man, 
bringing down a brawny paw, with a resounding thump, 


upon the Herculean shoulders of the first querist, thereby 
^ying me the information that in the West alligator is a 
designation of the genus homo; in fact, that it is cus- 
tomary for a man to address his fellow-man as ^'old 
alligator," instead of "old fellow." At eight we left 
Rock Island, and, turning my unwilling steps eastward 
from the land of adventure and romance, we entered the 
cars for Chicago. 

They were extremely crowded, and my friends, se- 
curing me the only comfortable seat in one of them, 
were obliged to go into the next, much to their indigna- 
tion ; but protestations were of no use. The eri^ne-bell 
rang, a fearful rush followed, which resulted in the pas- 
sage down the centre being filled with standing men; 
the conductor shouted " Go a-head," and we were off for 
Lake Michigan in the "Lightning Express," warranted 
to go sixty-seven miles an hour ! I had found it necessary 
to study physiognomy since leaving England, and was 
horrified by the appearance of my next neighbour. His 
forehead was low, his deep-set and restless eyes significant 
of cunning, and I at once set him down as a swindler or 
pickpocket. My convictions of the truth of my inferences 
were so strong, that I removed my purse, in which, how- 
ever, acting by advice, I never carried more than five 
dollars, from my pocket, leaving in it only my handker- 
chief and the checks for my baggage, knowing that I 
could not possibly keep awake the whole morning. In 
spite of my endeavours to the contrary, I soon sank into 
an oblivious state, from which I awoke to the consciousness 
that my companion was withdrawing his hand from my 
pocket. My first impulse was to make an exclamation, 



ray second, ' which I carried into execution, to ascertain 
my loss ; which I found to be the very alarming one of 
my baggage-checks; my whole property being thereby 
placed at this vagabond's disposal, for I knew perfectly 
well, that if I claimed my trunks without my checks, the 
acute baggage-master would have set me down as a bold 
swindler. The keen-eyed conductor was not in the car, 
and, had he been there, the necessity for habitual sus- 
picion, incidental to his position, would so far have 
removed his original sentiments of generosity as to make 
him turn a deaf ear to my request, and there was not one 
of my fellow-travellers whose physiognomy would have 
warranted me in appealing to him. So, recollecting that 
my checks were marked Chicago, and seeing that the 
thief s ticket bore the same name, I resolved to wait the 
chapter of accidents, or the re-appearance of my friends. 
I was scarcely able to decide whether this proof of the re- 
liance to be placed upon physiognomy was not an adequate 
compensation for the annoyance I was experiencing, at the 
probability of my hoarded treasures falling into the hands 
of an adventurer- 

During the morning we crossed some prairie-country, 
and stopped at several stations, patches of successful cul- 
tivation showing that there must be cultivators, though I 
rarely saw their habitations. The cars still continued so 
full that my friends could not join me, and I began to be 
seriously anxious about the fate of my luggage. At 
mid-day, spires and trees, and lofty blocks of building, 
rising from a grass-prairie on one side, and from the blue 
waters of Lake Michigan on the other, showed that we 
were approaching Chicago. Along beaten tracks through 


the grass, waggons with white tilts drawn by oxen were 
proceeding west, sometimes accompanied by armed horse- 

With a whoop like an Indian war-whoop the cars ran 
into a shed — ^they stopped — the pickpocket got up — I got 
up too — the baggage-master came to the door : " This 
gentleman has the checks for my baggage," said I, point- 
ing to the thief. Bewildered, he took them from his 
waistcoat-pocket, gave them to the baggage-master, and 
went hastily away. I had no inclination to cry " Stop 
thief!" and had barely time to congratulate myself on 
the fortunate impulse which had led me to say what I did, 
when my friends appeared from the next car. They 
were too highly amused with my recital to sympathise 
at all with my feelings of annoyance, and one of them, a 
gentlenxan filling a high situation in the East, laughed 
heartily, saying, in a thoroughly American tone, " The 
English ladies must be 'cute customers, if they can outwit 
Yankee pickpockets." 

Meaning to stay all night at Chicago, we drove to the 
two best hotels, but, finding them full, were induced to 
betake ourselves to an advertising house, the name of 
which it is unnecessary to give, though it will never be 
effaced from my memory. The charge advertised was a 
dollar a day, and for this every comfort and advantage 
were promised. 

The inn was a large brick building at the corner of a 
street, with nothing very unprepossessing in its external 
appearance. The wooden stairs were dirty enough, and, 
on ascending them to the so-called " ladies' parlour," I 
found a large, meanly-furnished apartment, garnished with 

H 2 


six spittoons, which, however, to my disgust, did not 
prevent the floor from receiving a large quantity of to- 

There were two rifles, a pistol, and a powder-flask on 
the table ; two Irish emigrant women were seated on the 
floor (which swarmed with black beetles and ants), un- 
dressing a screaming child ; a woman evidently in a fever 
was tossing restlessly on the sofa ; two females in tarnished 
Bloomer habiliments were looking out of the window ; and 
other extraordinary-looking human beings filled the room. 
I asked for accommodation for the night, hoping that I 
should find a room where I could sit quietly. A dirty 
chambermaid took me to a room or dormitory containing 
four beds. In one part of it three women were aflPec- 
tionately and assiduously nursing a sick child ; in another, 
two were combing tangled black hair; upon which I 
declared that I must have a room to myself. 

The chambermaid then took me down a long, darkish 
passage, and showed me a small room without a fire- 
place, and only lighted by a pane of glass in the door ; 
consequently, it was nearly dark. There was a small bed 
with a dirty bufiklo-skin upon it ; I took It up, and 
swarms of living creatures fell out of it, and the floor was 
literally alive with them. The sight of such a room 
made me feel quite ill, and it was with the greatest reluct- 
ance that I deposited my bonnet and shawl in it. 

Outside the door were some medicine-bottles and other 
suspicious signs of illness, and, after making some cautious 
inquiries, we found that there was a case of typhus fever in 
the house, also one of Asiatic cholera, and three of ague ! 
My friends were extremely shocked with the aspect of 


affairs. I believe that they were annoyed that I should 
see such a specimen of an hotel in their country, and they 
decided, that, as I could not possibly remain there for the 
night, Ishould go on to Detroit alone, as they were de- 
tained at Chicago on business. Though I certainly 
felt rather out of my element in this place, I was not 
at all sorry for the opportunity, thus accidentally given 
me, of seeing something of American society in its lowest 

We went down to dinner, and only the fact of not 
having tasted food for many hours could have made 
me touch it in such a room. We were in a long apart- 
ment, with one table down the middle, with plates laid for 
one hundred people. Every «eat was occupied, these seats 
being benches of somewhat uncouth workmanship. The 
floor had recently been washed, and emitted a damp fetid 
odour. At one side was a large fireplace, where, in spite 
of the heat of the day, sundry manipulations were going 
on, coming under the general name of cookery. At the 
end of the room was a long leaden trough or sink, where 
three greasy scullery-boys without shoes, were perpetually 
engaged in washing plates, which they wiped upon their 
aprons. The plates, however, were not washed, only 
superficially rinsed. There were four brigand-looking 
waiters with prodigious beards and moustachios. 

There was no great variety at table. There were 
eight boiled legs of mutton, nearly raw ; six antiquated 
fowls, whose legs were of the consistence of guitar-strings ; 
baked pork with " onion fixings," the meat swimming in 
grease ; and for vegetables, yams, corn-cobs, and squash. 
A cup of stewed tea, sweetened with » molasses, stood by 


each plate, and no fermented liquor of any description 
was consumed by the company. There were no carving- 
knives, so each person hacked the joints with his own, and 
some of those present carved them dexterously with 
bowie-knives taken out of their belts. Neither were there 
salt-spoons, so everybody dipped his greasy knife into the 
little pewter pot containing salt. Dinner began, and after 
satisfying my own hunger with the least objectionable 
dish, namely '' pork with onion fixings," I had leisure to 
look round me. 

Every quarter of the globe had contributed to swell 
that motley array, even China. Motives of interest or 
adventure had drawn them all together to this extraor- 
dinary outpost of civilisation, and soon would disperse 
them among lands where civilisation is unknown. 

As far as I could judge, we were the only representa- 
tives of England. There were Scots, for Scots are always 
to be found where there is any hope of honest gain — there 
were Irish emigrants, speaking with a rich brogue — French 
traders from St. Louis — Mexicans fron Santa Fe — Cali- 
fomians fitting out, and Californians coming home with 
fortunes made — keen-eyed speculators from New Eng- 
land — packmen from Canada — " Prairie-men," trappers, 
hunters, and adventurers of all descriptions. Many of 
these wore bowie-knives or pistols in their belts. The 
costumes were very varied and picturesque. Two 
Bloomers in very poor green habiliments sat opposite to 
me, and did not appear to attract any attention, though 
Bloomerism is happily defunct in the States. 

There had been three duels at Chicago in the morning, 
and one of the duellists, a swarthy, dark-browed villain. 

Chap.VIIL respect for women. 161 

sat next but one to me. The quarrel originated in a 
gambling-house, and this Mexican's opponent was mor- 
tally wounded, and there he sat, with the guilt of human 
blood upon his hands, describing to his vis-Orvis the way 
in which he had taken aim at his adversary, and no one 
seemed to think anything about it From what I heard, 
I fear duelling must have become very common in the 
West, and no wonder, from the number of lawless spirits 
who congregate where they can be comparatively un- 

The second course consi^d exclusively of pumpkin- 
pies ; but when the waiter^-cha|iged the plates, their way 
of cleaning the knives ai|idr/or]tajyas so peculiarly disgusting, 
that I did not attempt j^^tiany thing. But I must re- 
mark that in this nm^SSyj ^sembly there was nothing of 
coarseness, and not a woM>of bad language — indeed, no- 
thing which could offend.!£o^ most fastidious ears. I must 
in this respect bear very favourable testimony to the 
Americans ; for, in the course of my somewhat extensive 
travels in the United St^s, and mixing as I did very 
frequently with the lower classes, I never heard any of 
that language which so frequently offends the ear in 

I suppose that there is no country in the world where 
the presence of a lady is such a restraint upon manners 
and conversation. A female, whatever her age or rank 
may be, is invariably treated with deferential respect; 
and if this deference may occasionally trespass upon the 

* I must not be misunderstood here. Profane language is only too 
notoriously common in the States, but custom, which in America is 
frequently stronger than law, totally prohibits its use before ladies. 


limits of absurdity, or if the extinct chivalry of the past 
ages of Europe meets with a partial revival upon the 
shores of America, this extreme is vastly preferable to the 
brusquerie, if not incivility, which ladies, as I have heard, 
too often meet with in England. 

The apparently temperate habits in the United States 
form another very pleasing feature to dwell upon. It is 
to be feared that there is a considerable amount of 
drunkenness among the English, Irish, and Germans, who 
form a large portion of the American population ; but the 
temperate, tea-drinking, water-drinking habits of the 
native Americans are most remarkable. In fact, I only 
saw one intoxicated person in the States, and he was a 
Scotch fiddler. At the hotels, even when sitting down to 
dinner in a room with four hundred persons, I never on 
any occasion saw more than two bottles of wine on the 
table, and I know from experience that in many private 
dwelling-houses there is no fermented liquor at all. In 
the West, more especially at the rude hotels where I 
stopped, I never saw wine, beer, or spirits upon the 
table; and the spectacle gratified me exceedingly, of 
seeing fierce-looking, armed, and bearded men, drinking 
frequently in the day of that cup " which cheers, but not 
inebriates," Water is a beverage which I never enjoyed 
in purity and perfection before I visited America. It is 
provided in abundance in the cars, the hotels, the waiting- 
rooms, the steamers, and even the stores, in crystal 
jugs or stone filters, and it is always iced. This may 
be either the result or the cause of the temperance of the 

Ancient history tells us of a people who used to in- 


toxicate their slaves, and, while they were in that condition, 
display them to their sons, to disgust them early with the 
degrading vice of drunkenness. 

The emigrants who have left our shores, more particu- 
larly the Irish, have voluntarily enacted the part formerly 
assigned to the slaves of the Spartans. Certain it is that 
their intemperance, with the evils of which the Americans 
are only too well acquainted, has produced a beneficial 
result, by causing a strong re-action in favour of tem- 
perance principles. 

The national oath of the English, which has earned for 
them abroad a horrible sobriquet^ and the execrations 
which belong to the French, Italian, and Spanish nations, 
are unfortunately but too well known, because they are 
toa often heard. Indeed, I have scarcely ever travelled 
in England by coach or railway — I have seldom driven 
through a crowded street, or ridden on horseback through 
quiet agricultural villages — without hearing language in 
direct defiance of the third commandment. Profanity 
and drunkenness are among the crying sins of the Eng- 
lish lower orders. Much has been said upon the subject 
of swearing in the United States. I can only say that, 
travelling in them as I have travelled in England, and 
mixing with people of a much lower class than I ever 
was thrown among in England — mixing with these people 
too on terms of perfect equality — I never heard an oath 
till after I crossed the Canadian frontier. With regard 
to both these things, of course I only speak of what fell 
under my own observation. 

After dinner, being only too glad to escape from a 
house where pestilence was rife, we went out iuto Chicago. 

u 3 

154 CHICAGO. Chap. VIII. 

It is a wonderful place, and tells more forcibly of the 
astonishing energy and progress of the Americans than 
anything I saw. Forty years ago the whole ground on 
which the town stands could have been bought for six 
hundred dollars ; now, a person would give ten thousand 
for the site of a single store. It is built on a level 
prairie, only slightly elevated above the lake surface. It 
lies on both sides of the Chicago river, about a mile above 
its entrance into Lake Michigan. By the construction 
of piers, a large artificial harbour has been made at the 
mouth of this river. 

The city has sprung up rapidly, and is supplied with 
all the accessories of a high state of civilisation. Chicago, 
in everything that contributes to real use and comfort, will 
compare favourably with any city in the world. In 1830 
it was a mere trading-post, situated in the theatre of the 
Black Hawk war. In 1850 its population was only 28,000 
people ; it has now not less than 60,000.* It had not a 
mile of railway in 1850 ; now fourteen lines radiate from 
it, bringing to it the trade of an area of country equalling 
150,000 square miles. One hundred heavy trains arrive 
and depart from it daily. It has a commerce commen- 
surate with its magnitude. It employs about 70,000 
tons of shipping, nearly one-half being steamers and pro- 
pellers. The lumber- trade, which is chiefly carried on 
with Buflalo, is becoming very profitable. The exports 
of Chicago, to the East, of bread-stuffs for the past year, 
exceeded 13,000,000 bushels ; and a city which, in 1840, 

* By the last census, taken in June, 1855, the population of Chicago 
was given at 87,000 souls, thus showing the extraordinary increase of 
27,000 within a year. 

Chap. VIII. CHICAGO. 155 

numbered only 4000 inhabitants, is now one of the largest 
exporting grain-markets in the world. 

Chicago is connected with the western rivers by a sloop 
canal — one of the most magnificent works ever undertaken. 
It is also connected with the Mississippi at several points 
by railroad. It is regularly laid out with wide airy 
streets, much more cleanly than those of Cincinnati. The 
wooden houses are fast giving place to lofty substantial 
structures of brick, or a stone similar in appearance to 
white marble, and are often six stories high. These 
houses, as in all business streets in the American cities, 
are disfigured, up to the third story, by large glaring 
sign-boards containing the names and occupations of their 
residents. The side walks are of wood, and, wher- 
ever they are made of this unsubstantial material, one 
frequently finds oneself stepping into a hole, or upon 
the end of a board which tilts up under one's feet. The 
houses are always let in flats, so that there are gene- 
rally three stores one above another. These stores are 
very handsome, those of the outfitters particularly so, 
though the quantity of goods displayed in the streets gives 
them rather a barbaric appearance. The side walks are 
literally encumbered with bales of scarlet flannel, and 
every other article of an emigrant's outfit. At the out- 
fitters' stores you can buy anything, from a cart-nail to a 
revolver; from a suit of oilskin to a paper of needles. 
The streets present an extraordinary spectacle. Every- 
thing reminds that one is standing on the very verge of 
western civilisation. 

The roads are crowded to an inconvenient extent with 
carriages of curious construction, waggons, carts, and men 

166 CHICAGO. Chap. VIII. 

on horseback, and the side-walks with eager foot-pas- 
sengers. By the side of a carriage drawn by two or 
three handsome horses, a creaking waggon with a white 
tilt, drawn by four heavy oxen, may be seen — Mexicans 
and hunters dash down the crowded streets at full gallop 
on mettlesome steeds, with bits so powerful as to throw 
their horses on their haunches when they meet with any 
obstacle. They ride animals that look too proud to 
touch the earth, on high-peaked saddles, with pistols in 
the holsters, short stirrups, and long, cruel-looking 
Spanish spurs. They wear scarlet caps or palmetto hats, 
and high jack-boots. Knives are stuck into their belts, 
and light rifles are slung behind them. These pic- 
turesque beings — the bullock-waggons setting out for the 
Far West — the medley of different nations and costumes 
in the streets — make the city a spectacle of great interest. 

The deep hollow roar of the locomotive, and the shrill 
scream from the steamboat, are heard here all day ; a 
continuous stream of life ever bustles through the city, 
and, standing as it d«es . on the very verge of western 
civilisation, Chicago is a vast emporium of the trade of 
the districts east and west of the Mississippi. 

At an office in one of the streets Mr. C took my 

ticket for Toronto by railway, steamer, railway, and 
steamer, only paying eight dollars and a half, or about 
thirty-four shillings, for a journey of seven hundred 
miles I 

We returned to tea at the hotel, and found our viands 
and companions just the same as at dinner. It is impos- 
sible to give an idea of the " western men " to any one 
who has not seen one at least as a specimen. They are 


the men before whom the Indians melt away as grass 
before the scythe. They shoot them down on the smallest 
provocation, and speak of " head of Indian/' as we do in 
England of head of game. Their bearing is bold, reck- 
less, and independent in the extreme ; they are as ready 
to fight a foe as to wait upon women and children with 
tender assiduity ; their very appearance says to you, 
" Stranger, I belong to the greatest, most enlightened, 
and most progressive nation on earth ; I may be the 
President or a millionaire next year ; I don't care a straw 
for you or any one else." 

Illinois is a State which has sprung up, as if by magic, 
to be one of the most fruitful in the West. It was settled 
by men from the New England States — ^men who carried 
with them those characteristics which have made the New 
Englander's career one of active enterprise, and successful 
progress, wherever he has been. Not many years ago 
the name of Illinois was nearly unknown, and on her 
soil the hardy settler battled with the forest-trees for 
space in which to sow his first crops. Her roads were 
merely rude and often impassable tracks through forest 
or prairie ; now she has in operation and course of con- 
struction two thousand and seventy miles of those iron 
sinews of commercial progress — railroads, running like a 
network over the State. 

At seven o'clock, with a feeling of great relief, mingled 
with thankfulness at having escaped untouched by the 
terrible pestilence which had ravaged Chicago, I left the 
hotel, more appropriately termed a " caravanserai,^^ and 
my iiiends placed me in the " Lightning Express," war- 
ranted to go sixty-seven miles an hour. 

168 CHICAGO. Chap. VIII. 

Unless it may be St. Louis, I fancy that Chicago 
is more worth a visit than any other of the western 
cities. Even one day at it was worth a voyage across 
the Atlantic, and a land-journey of eighteen hundred 



A vexatious incident — John Bull enraged — Woman's rights — Alli- 
gators become hosses — A popular host — Military display — A 
mirth-provoking gun — Grave reminiscences — Attractions of the 
fair — Past and present — A floating palace — Black companions — 
A black baby —Externals of Buffalo — The flag of England. 

The night-cars are always crowded both in Canada and 
the States, because people in business are anxious to save 
a day if they have any expedition to make, and, as many 
of the cars are fitted up with seats of a most comfortable 
kind for night-travelling, a person accustomed to them 
can sleep in them as well as on a sofa. After leaving 
Chicago, they seemed about to rush with a whoop into 
the moonlit waters of Lake Michigan, and in reality it 
was not much better. For four miles we ran along a 
plank-road supported only on piles. There was a single 
track, and the carriages projecting over the whole, there 
was no bridge to be seen, and we really seemed to be 
going along on the water. These insecure railways are 
not uncommon in the States ; the dangers of the one on 
the Hudson river have been experienced by many tra- 
vellers to their cost. 

We ran three hundred miles through central Michigan 
in ten hours, including stoppages. We dashed through 
woods, across prairies, and over bridges without parapets^ 
at a uniform rate of progress. A boy making con- 


tiniial peregrinations with iced water alleviated the thirst 
of the passengers, for the night was intensely hot^ and I 
managed to sleep very comfortably till awoke by the 
intense cold of dawn. During the evening an incident 
most vexatious to me occurred. 

The cars were very full, and were not able to seat all 
the passengers. Consequently, according to the usages 
of American etiquette, the gentlemen vacated the seats 
in favour of the ladies, who took possession of them in a 
very ungracious manner as I thought. The gentlemen 
stood in the passage down the centre. At last all but 
one had given up their seats, and while stopping at a 
station another lady entered. 

" A seat for a lady," said the conductor, when he saw 
the crowded state of the car. The one gentleman did not 
stir. "A seat for a lady," repeated the man in a more 
imperious tone. Still no movement on the part of the 
gentleman appealed to. " A seat for a lady ; don't you 
see there's a lady wanting one ?" now vociferated several 
voices at once, but without producing any effect. " Get 
up for this lady," said one bolder than the rest, giving 
the stranger a sharp admonition on the shoulder. He 
pulled his travelling cap over his eyes, and doggedly 
refused to stir. There was now a regular hubbub in 
the car ; American blood was up« and several gentlemen 
tried to induce the offender to move. 

" I'm an Englishman, and I tell you I won't be brow- 
beat by you beastly Yankees. I've paid for my seat, and 
I mean to keep it," savagely shouted the offender, thus 
verifying my worst suspicions. 

"I thought so! — I knew it! — A regular John Bull 


trick ! just like them ! " were some of the observations 
made, and very mild they were, considering the aggra- 
vated circumstances. 

Two men took the culprit by his shoulders, and the 
others, pressing behind, impelled him to the door, amid 
a chorus of groans and hisses, disposing of him finally 
by placing him in the emigrant-car, installing the lady ill 
the vacated seat. I could almost fancy that the shade of 
the departed Judge Lynch stood by with an approving 

I was so thoroughly ashamed of my countryman, and 
so afraid of my nationality being discovered, that, if 
any one spoke to me, I adopted every Americanism 
which I could think of in reply. The country within 
fifty miles of Detroit is a pretty alternation of 
prairie, wood, corn-fields, peach and apple orchards. 
The maize is the staple of the country; you see it in 
the fields ; you have corn-cobs for breakfast ; corn- 
cobs, mush, and hominy for dinner ; johnny-cake for 
tea ; and the very bread contains a third part of Indian 
meal ! 

I thought the little I saw of Michigan very fertile and 
pretty. It is another of the newly constituted States, and 
was known until recently under the name of the " Mi- 
chigan Territory." This State is a peninsula between 
the Huron and Michigan Lakes, and borders in one part 
closely on Canada. It has a salubrious climate and a 
fertile soil, and is rapidly becoming a very productive 
State. Of late years the influx of emigrants of a 
better class has been very great. The State has great 

162 DETEOIT. Chap. IX. 

capabilities for saw and flour mills ; the Grand Rapids 
alone have a fall of fifteen feet in a mile, and afibrd im- 
mense water-power. 

In Michigan, human beings have ceased to be ^' aUi- 
ffotorsj' they are " hosses'* Thus one man says to an- 
other, "How do you do, old boss?" or, "What's the 
time o' day, old boss ?" When I reached Detroit I was 
amused when a conductor said to me, " One o' them 'ere 
bosses will take your trunks," pointing as he spoke to a 
group of porters. 

On arriving at Detroit I met for the first time with 
tokens of British enterprise and energy, and of the grow- 
ing importance of Canada West. Several persons in the 
cars were going to New York, and they took the ferry at 
Detroit, and went down to Niagara Bridge by the Ca- 
nada Great Western Railway, as the most expeditious 
route. I drove through the very pleasant streets of 
Detroit to the National Hotel, where I was to join the 
Walrences. Having indulged the hope of rejoining my 
former travelling companions here, I was greatly disap- 
pointed at finding a note from them, containing the intel- 
ligence that they had been summoned by telegraph to 
Toronto, to a sick relative. They requested me to join 
them there, and hoped I should find no difficulty on the 
journey 1 

It was the time of the State fair, and every room in 
the inn was occupied ; but Mr. Benjamin, the very 
popular host of the National, on hearing my circum- 
stances, would on no account suffer me to seek another 
abode, and requested a gentleman to give up his room to 


me, which with true American politeness he instantly did. 
I cannot speak too highly of the National Hotel, or of its 
deservedly popular landlord. I found that I could not 
leave Detroit before the next night, and at most hotels a 
lady alone would have been very uncomfortably placed. 
Breakfast was over, but, as soon as I retired to my room, 
the waiter appeared with an abundant repast, for which 
no additional charge was made. I sat in my room the 
whole day, and Mr. Benjamin came twice to my door to 
know if I wanted anything. He introduced me to a 
widow lady, whose room I afterwards shared ; and when 
I went down at night to the steamer, he sent one of his 
clerks with me, to save me any trouble about my luggage. 
He also gave me a note to an hotel-keeper at Buffalo, 
requesting him to pay me every attention, in case I 
should be detained for a night on the road. The hotel 
was a perfect pattern of cleanliness, elegance, and com- 
fort ; and the waiters, about fifty of whom were Dutch, 
attended scrupulously to every wish, actual or supposed, 
of the guests. If these pages should ever meet Mr. 
Benjamin's eye, it may be a slight gratification to him to 
know that his kindness to a stranger has been both re- 
membered and appreciated. 

I had some letters of introduction to residents at De- 
troit, and here, as in all other places which I visited, I 
had but to sow them to reap a rich harvest of kindness 
and hospitality. I spent two days most agreeably at 
Detroit, in a very refined and intellectual circle, perfectly 
free from those mannerisms which I had expected to find 
in a place so distant from the coast. The concurrent 
testimony of many impartial persons goes to prove that 


in every American town highly polished and intellectual 
society is to be met with. 

My bed-room window at the National Hotel looked into 
one of the widest and most bustling streets of Detroit. 
It was the day of the State fair, consequently I saw the 
town under a very favourable aspect. The contents of 
several special trains, and hundreds of waggons, crowded 
the streets, the "waggons'* frequently drawn by very 
handsome horses. The private carriages were of a supe- 
rior class to any I had previously seen in the States ; the 
harness was handsome and richly plated, and elegantly 
dressed ladies filled the interiors. But in amusing con- 
trast, the coachmen all looked like wild Irishmen enlisted 
fot the occasion, and drove in a standing posture. Young 
farmers, many of them dressed in the extreme of the 
fashion of Young America, were dashing about in their 
light waggons, driving tandem or span; heavily laden 
drays were proceeding at a slower speed ; and all this 
traffic was carried on under the shade of fine trees. 

Military bands playing *The Star-spangled Banner,' 
and ^Hail Columbia,' were constantly passing and re- 
passing, and the whole population seemed on the qui vive. 
Squadrons of cavalry continually passed my window, the 
men in gorgeous uniforms, with high waving plumes. 
Their horses were very handsome, but were not at all 
willing to display themselves by walking slowly, or in 
rank, and the riders would seem to have been se- 
lected for their corpulence, probably under the supposi- 
tion that the weight of both men and horses would tell in 
a charge. 

The air * Hail Columbia * is a very fine one, and 

Chap. IX. AN AMUSING GUN. 166 

doubtless thrills American hearts, as ours are thrilled by 
the National Anthem. Two regiments of foot followed 
the cavalry, one with peaceful-looking green and white 
plumes, the other with horsetails dyed scarlet. The 
privates had a more independent air than our own regu- 
lars, and were principally the sons of respectable citizens. 
They appeared to have been well drilled, and were 
superior in appearance to our militia; but it must be 
remembered that the militia of America constitutes the 
real militai'y force of the country, and is paid, and cared 
for accordingly; the regular army only amounting to 
ten thou3and men. 

A gun of the artillery followed, and the spectacle made 
me laugh immoderately, though I had no one with whoffi 
to share my amusement. It was a new-looking gun of 
shining brass, perfectly innocent of the taste of gun- 
powder, and mounted on a carriage suspiciously like a 
timber-truck, which had once been painted. Six very 
respectable-looking artillerymen were clustering upon 
this vehicle, but they had to hold hard, for it jolted un- 
mercifully. It was drawn by four horses of different 
colours and si^es, and they appeared animated by the 
principle of mutual repulsion. One of these was ridden 
by a soldier, seated on a saddle placed so far upon the 
horse's neck, that it gave him the appearance of clinging 
to the mane. The harness was shabby and travel-soiled, 
and the traces were of rope, which seemed to require 
continual "fixing," to judge from the frequency with 
which the rider jumped off to adjust them. The artillery- 
men were also continually stopping the vehicle, to re- 
arrange the limber of the gun. 

166 DETROIT PAIR. Chap. IX. 

While I was instituting an invidious comparison between 
this gun and our well-appointed, well-horsed, well-manned 
artillery at Woolwich, the thought suddenly flashed across 
my mind that the militia forces of America beat us at 
Lexington, Saratoga, and Ticonderoga. " A change 
came o'er the spirit of my dream,^' — from the ridiculous 
to the sublime was but a step ; and the grotesque gun- 
carriage was instantly invested with sublimity. 

Various attractions were presented at the fair. There 
were horse-races and trotting-matches ; a trotting bull 
warranted to beat the fastest horse in Michigan; and 
bands of music. Phineas Taylor Barnum presented the 
spectacle of his very superior menagerie ; in one place a 
wizard offered to show the smallness of the difference 
between meum and iuum ; the Siamese Twins in another 
displayed their monstrous and inseparable union; and 
vocalists were awaiting the commands of the lovers of 

There was a large piece of ground devoted to an agri- 
cultural exhibition ; and here, as at home. Cochin China 
fowls were " the observed of all observers," and realised 
fabulous prices. In a long range of booths, devoted to 
the products of manufacturing industry, some of the cost- 
liest productions of the looms of Europe were exhibited 
for sale. There were peep-shows, and swings, and merry- 
go-rounds, and hobby-horses, and, with so many induce- 
ments offered, it will not be supposed that holiday people 
were wanting. 

Suddenly, while the diversions were at their height, 
and in the midst of the intense heat, a deluge burst over 
Detroit, like the breaking of a waterspout, in a few mi- 


Qutes turning the streets into rivers, deep enough in 
many places to cover the fetlocks of the horses. It 
rained as it only rains in a hot climate, and the storm 
was accompanied by thunder and lightning. Waggons 
and carriages hurried furiously along; stages intended 
to carry twelve persons at six cents were conveying 
twenty through the flood at a dollar each ; and ladies 
drenched to the skin, with white dresses and silk stock- 
ings the colour of mud, were hurrying along over the 
slippery side wallas. An infantry regiment of militia took 
to their heels and ran off at full pelt, — and a large body 
of heavy cavalry dashed by in a perfect hurricane of 
moustaches, draggled plumes, cross-bands, gigantic white 
gloves, and clattering sabres, clearing the streets effec- 

A hundred years ago Detroit was a little French village 
of wooden houses, a mere post for carrying on the fur- 
trade with the Indians. Some of these houses still re- 
main, dingy, many-windowed, many-gabled buildings, of 
antique construction. Canoes laden with peltry were 
perhaps the only craft which disturbed the waters of the 
Detroit river. 

The old times are changed, and a thriving commercial 
town of 40,000 inhabitants stands on the site of the 
French trading-post. Handsome quays and extensive 
wharfs now line the shores of the Detroit river, and to 
look at the throng of magnificent steamers and small sail- 
ing-vessels lying along them, sometimes two or three 
deep, one would suppose oneself at an English seaport. 
The streets, which contain very handsome stores, are 
planted with trees, and are alive with business ; and hotels. 


banks, and offices appear in every direction. Altogether 
Detroit is a very pleasing place, and, from its position, 
bids fair to be a very important one. 

I had to leave the friends whose acqii^ntance and 
kindness rendered Detroit so agreeable to me, in the 
middle of a very interesting conversation. Before ten 
at night I found myself on an apparently interminable 
wharf, creeping between cart-wheels and over bales of 
wool to the Mayflower steamer, which was just leaving 
for Buffalo. 

Passing through the hall of the Mayflower^ which was 
rather a confused and dimly-lighted scene, I went up to 
, the saloon by a very handsome staircase with elaborate 
bronze balustrades. My bewildered eyes surveyed a fairy 
scene, an eastern palace, a vision of the Arabian Nights. 
I could not have believed that such magnificence existed 
in a ship ; it impressed me much more than anything I 
have seen in the palaces of England. 

The Mayfxywer was a steam-ship of 2200 tons burthen, 
her length 336 feet, and her extreme breadth 60. She 
was of 1000 horse-power, with 81-inch cylinders, and a 
stroke of 12 feet. I speak of her in the past tense, be- 
cause she has since been totally cast away in a storm on 
Lake Erie. This lake bears a very bad character, and 
persons are warned not to venture upon it at so stormy a 
season of the year as September, but, had the weather 
been very rough, I should not have regretted my voyage 
in so splendid a steamer. 

The saloon was 300 feet long ; it had an arched roof 
and Gothic cornice, with a moulding below of gilded 
grapes and vine-leaves. It was 10 feet high, and the 


projections of the ceiling, the mouldings, and the panels 
of the doors of the state-rooms were all richly gilded. 
Ahout the middle there was an enclosure for the engine, 
scarcely obstructing th^ view. This enclosure was Gothic, 
to match the roof, and at each end had a window of 
plate-glass, 6 feet square, through which the mechanism 
of the engine could be seen, llie en^ne itself, being a 
high-pressure one, and consequently without the incum- 
brances of condenser and air-pump, occupied much less 
room than one of ours in a ship of the same tonnage. 
Every stationary part of the machinery was of polished 
steel, or bronze, with elaborate castings ; a crank indi- 
cator and a clock faced each other, and the whole was 
lighted by two large coloured lamps. These windows 
were a favourite lounge of the curious and scientific. 
The carpet was of rich velvet pile, in groups of brilliant 
flowers, and dotted over with ehairs, sofas, and Ute-a-tites 
of carved walnut-wood, cushioned with the richest green 
velvet : the tables were of marble with gilded pedestals. 
There was a v^ry handsome piano, and both it and the 
tables supported massive vases of beautiful Sevres or 
Dresden china, filled with exotic flowers. On one table 
was a richly-chased silver tray, with a silver ewer of iced 
water upon it. The saloon was brilliantly lighted by 
eight chandeliers with dependent glass lustres; and at 
each end two mirrors, the height of the room, prolonged 
interminably the magniflcent scene. 

In such an apartment one would naturally expect to 
see elegantly-dressed gentlemen and ladies; but no — 
western men, in palmetto hats and great boots, lounged 
upon the superb sofas, and negroes and negresses chat- 


tered and promenaded. Porcelain spittoons in consider^ 
able numbers garnished the floor, and their office was by 
no means a sinecure one, even in the saloon exclusively 
devoted to ladies. 

I saw only one person whom I liked to speak to^ among 
my three hundred fellow-voyagers. This was a tall, 
pale, and very ladylike person in deep mourning, with 
a perfectly uninterested look, and such deep lines of 
sorrow on her face, that I saw at a glance that the 
world had no power to interest or please her. She sat 
on the same sofa with me, and was helplessly puzzling 
over the rotde from Bufi^o to Albany with a gruff, un- 
couth son, who seemed by no means disposed to aid her 
in her difficulties. As I was, able to give her the in- 
formation she wanted, we entered into conversation for 
two hours. She soon told me her history, merely an 
ordinary one, of love, bereavement, and sorrow. She 
had been a widow for a year, and she said that her deso- 
lation was so great that her sole wish was to die. Her 
sons were taking her a tour, in the hope of raising her 
spirits, but she said she was just moved about and dressed 
like a doll, that she had not one ray of comfort, and that 
all shrunk from her hopeless and repining grief. She 
asked me to tell her if any widow of my acquaintance 
had been able to bear her loss with resignation; and 
when I told her of some instances among my own rela- 
tions, she burst into tears and said, " I am ever arraign- 
ing the wisdom of God, and how can I hope for his con- 
solations ?" The task of a comforter is ever a hard one, 
and in her instance it was particularly so, to point to the 
" Balm of Gilead," as revealed in sacred Scripture ; for 


a stranger to show faer in all kindness that comfort could 
never be experienced while, as she herself owned, she was 
living in the neglect of every duty both to God and man. 

She seemed roused for the moment, and thanked me 
for the sympathy which I most sincerely felt, hoping at 
the same time to renew the conversation in the morning. 
We had a stormy night, from which she suffered so much 
as to be unable to leave her berth the next day, and I 
saw nothing further of her beyond a brief glimpse which 
I caught of her at Buffalo, as she was carried ashore, 
looking more despairing even than the night before. 

Below this saloon is the ladies' cabin, also very hand- 
some, but disfigured by numerous spittoons, and beneath 
this again is a small cabin with berths two deep round 
the sides ; and in this abode, as the ship was full, I took 
a berth for the night with a southern lady, her two 
female slaves, four negresses, and a mulatto woman, 
who had just purchased their freedom in Tennessee. 
These blacks were really lady-like and intelligent, and 
so agreeable and natve that, although they chattered to 
me till two in the morning, I was not the least tired of 

They wanted me to bring them all home to England, 
to which they have been taught to look as to a land of 
liberty ajad happiness ; and it was with much difficulty 
that I made them understand that I should not be able 
to find employment for them. I asked one of them, a 
very fine-looking mulatto, how long she had been married, 
and her age. She replied that she was thirty-four, and 
had been married twenty-one years I 

I 2 

172 A GALE. Chap. IX. 

Their black faces and woolly hair contrasted most 
ludicrously with the white pillow-case. After sleeping 
for a time, I was awoke by a dissonance of sounds — 
groaning, straining, creaking, and the crash of waves and 
roar of winds. I dressed with diflGiculty, and, crawling to 
the window, beheld a cloudless sky, a thin, blue, stormy- 
looking mist, and waves higher than I had ever seen those 
on the ocean ; indeed, Lake Erie was one sheet of raging, 
furious billows, which dashed about our leviathan but top- 
heavy steamer as if she had been a plaything. 

I saw two schooners scudding with only their foresails 
set, and shortly after a vessel making signals of distress, 
having lost her masts, bulwarks, and boats in the gale. 
We were enabled to render her very seasonable assist- 
ance. I was not now surprised at the caution given by 
the stewardess the previous night, namely, that the less 
I undressed the better, in case of an accident. 


While the gale lasted, being too much inured to rough 
weather to feel alarmed, I amused myself with watching 
the different effects produced by it on the feelings of 
different persons. The Southern lady was frantic with 
terror. First she requested me, in no very gentle tones, 
to call the stewardess. I went to the abode of that func- 
tionary, and found her lying on the floor sea-sick ; her 
beautiful auburn hair tangled and dishevelled. " Oh 1 
madam, how could you sleep?" she said; "we've had 
such an awful night ! I've never been so ill before." 

I returned from my useless errand, and the lady then 
conmanded me to go instantly to the captain and ask him 
to come. " He's attending to the ship," I urged. " Go, 

Chap. IX. A GALE. 173 

then, if you've any pity, and ask him if we shall be lost." 
"There's no danger, as far as I can judge ; the engines 
work regularly, and the ship obeys her helm." The May- 
flower gave a heavier roll than usual. " Oh my God ! 
Oh Heaven !" shrieked the unhappy lady ; " forgive me ! 
Mercy I mercy !" A lull followed, in which she called 
to one of her slaves for a glass of water ; but the poor 
creature was too ill to move, and, seeing that her mistress 
was about to grow angry, I went up to the saloon for it. 
On my way to the table I nearly tumbled over a pros- 
trate man, whom I had noticed the night before as con- 
spicuous for his audacious and hardy bearing. " I guess 
we're going to Davy Jones," he said ; " I've been saying 
my prayers all night — ^little good, I guess. I've been a 
sinner too long. I've seen many a " — a groan followed. 
I looked at the reckless speaker. He was lying on the 
floor, with his hat and shoes off, and his rifle beside him. 
His face was ghastly, but, I verily believe, more from the 
.effects of sea-sickness than fear. He begged me, in 
feeble tones, to get him some brandy ; but I could not 
find anybody to give it to him, and went down with the 

The two slaves were as frightened as people almost 
stupified by sickness could be ; but when I asked one of 
the freed negresses if she were alarmed, she said, " Me 
no fear ; if me die, me go to Jesus Christ ; if me live, 
me serve him here — hetter to dieT* 

It has been said that " poverty, sickness, all the ills of 
life, are Paradise to what we fear of death " — that " it is 
not that life is sweet, but that death is bitter." Here 
the poet and the philosopher might have learned a lesson. 


This poor, untutored negress probably knew nothing more 
" than her Bible true ;*' but she had that knowledge of a 
future state which reason, unassisted by the light of reve- 
lation, could never have learned ; she knew yet more — she 
knew God as revealed in Christ, and in that knowledge, 
under its highest and truest name of Faith, she feared 
not the summons which would call her into the presence 
of the Judge of all. The infidel may hug his heartless 
creed, which, by ignoring alike futurity and the Divine 
government, makes an aimless chaos of the past, and a 
gloomy obscurity of the future ; but, in the " hour of 
death and in the day of judgment," the boldest atheist in 
existence would thankfully exchange his &iling theories 
for the poor African's simple creed. 

Providence, which has not endowed the negro with in- 
tellectual powers of the highest order, has given him an 
amount oi heart and enthusiasm to which we are strangers. 
He is warm and ardent in his attachments, fierce in his 
resentfulness, terrible in his revenge. The black troops of 
our West Indian colonies, when let loose, fight with more 
fury and bloodthirstiness than those of any white race. 
This temperament is carried into religion, and nowhere 
on earth does our Lord find a more loving and zealous 
disciple than in the converted and Christianized negro. 
It is indeed true that, in America only, more than three 
million free-bom Africans wear the chains of servitude ; 
but it is no less true that in many instances the Gospel 
has penetrated the shades of their Egyptian darkness, 
giving them 

*' A clear escape from tyrannizing lust, 
A full immunity from penal woe." 

Chap. IX, A BLACK BABY. 175 

Many persons who have crossed the Atlantic without 
annoyance are discomposed by the short chopping surges 
of these inland seas, and the poor negresses suffered 
dreadfully from sea^sickness. , 

As the stewardess was upstairs, and too ill herself to 
attend upon any one, I did what I could for them, getting 
them pillows, camphor, &c., only too happy that I was in 
a condition to be useful. One of them, a young married 
woman with a baby of three months old, was alarmingly 
ill> and, as the poor infant was in danger of being seriously 
mjured by the rolling of the ship, I took it on my lap 
for an hour till the gale moderated, thereby gaining the 
lasting kindly remembrance of its poor mother. I am 
sure that a white infant would have screamed in a most 
appalling way, for, as I had never taken a baby in my 
iu*ms before, I held it in a very awkward manner; but 
the poor little black thing, wearied with its struggles on 
the floor, lay very passively, every now and then turning 
its little monkey-face up to mine, with a look of under- 
standing and confidence which quite conciliated my good 
will. It was so awfully ugly, so much like a black ape, 
and so little like the young of the human species, that I 
was obliged while I held it to avert my eyes from it, lest 
in a sudden fit of foolish prejudice and disgust I should 
let it fall. Meanwhile, the Southern lady was very ill, 
but not too ill, I am sorry to say, to box the ears of her 

The gale moderated about nine in the morning, leaving 
a very rough, foamy sea, which reflected in a peculiarly 
dazzling and disagreeable way the cloudless and piercing 
blue of the sky. The saloon looked as magnificent as by 

176 BXTFFALO. Chap. IX. 

candle-light, with the sunshine streaming through a 
running window of stained glass. 

Dinner on a plentiful scale was served at one, but out 
of 300 passengers only about 30 were able to ayail them- 
selves of it. Large glass tubs of vanilla cream-ice were 
served. The voyage was peculiarly uninteresting, as we 
were out of sight of land nearly the whole day ; my friend 
the widow did not appear, and, when I attempted to write, 
the inkstand rolled off the table. It was just sunset when 
we reached Buffalo, and moored at a wharf crowded with 
large steamers receiving and discharging cargo. Owing 
to the gale, we were two hours too late for the Niagara 
cars, and I slept at the Western Hotel, where I received 
every attention. 

Buffalo is one of the best samples of American progress. 
It is a regularly laid- out and substantially built city of 
65,000 inhabitants. It is still in the vigour of youth, 
for the present town only dates from 1813. It stands 
at the foot of Lake Erie, at the opening of the Hudson 
canal, where the commerce of the great chain of inland 
lakes is condensed. It is very " going ahead ;" its in- 
habitants are ever chan^ng ; its population is composed 
of all nations, with a very large proportion of Germans, 
French, and Irish. But their national characteristics, 
though not lost, are seen through a medium of pure Ame- 
ricanism. They all rush about — the lethargic German 
keeps pace with the energetic Yankee ; and the Irish- 
man, no longer in rags, ^' guesses " and *' spekilates *' 
in the brogue of Erin. Western travellers pass through 
Buffalo ; tourists bound for Canada pass through Buffalo ; 
the traffic of lakes, canals, and several lines of rail centres 

Chap. IX. A EOUGH ROAD. 177 

at Bufiklo ; so engines scream, and steamers puff, all day 
long. It has a great shipbuilding trade, and to all ap- 
pearance is one of the most progressive and go-ahead 
cities in the Union. 

I left Buffalo on a clear, frosty morning, by a line 
which ran between lumber-yards * on a prodigious scale 
and the hard white beach of Lake Erie. Soon after 
leaving the city, the lake becomes narrow and rapid, and 
finally hiu'ries along with fearful velocity. I knew that I 
was looking at the commencement of the rapids of Niagara, 
but the cars ran into some clearings, and presently stopped 
at a very bustling station, where a very officious man 
shouted, " Niagara Falls Station !" The name grated 
unpleasantly upon my ears. A man appeared at the door 
of the car in which I was the only passenger — *' You for 
Lewiston, quick, this way I" and hurried me into a stage 
of uncouth construction, drawn by four horses. We 
jolted along the very worst road I ever travelled on — 
corduroy was Elysium to it. No level was observed ; it 
seemed to be a mere track along waste land, running 
through holes, over hillocks and stumps of trees. We 
were one hour and three-quarters in going a short seven 
miles. If I had been better acquainted with the neigh- 
bourhood, I might, as I only found out when it was too 
late, have crossed the bridge at Niagara Falls, spent three 
hours in sight of Niagara, proceeding to Queenston in time 
for the steamer by the Canada cars 1 

On our way to Lewiston we met forty of these four- 
horse stages. I caught a distant view of the falls, and a 

* Lumber is sawn timber. 

I 3 

178 AN UPSET. Chap. IX, 

nearer one of the yet incomplete saspension bridge, which> 
when finished, will be one of the greatest triumphs of 
engineering art. 

Beyond this the scenery is very beautiful. The road 
runs among forest trees of luxuriiuit growth, and peach 
and apple orchards, upon the American bank of the 
Niagara river. This bank is a cliff 300 feet high, and 
from the edge of the road you may throw a stone into the 
boiling torrent below ; yet the only parapet is a rotten 
fence, in many places completely destroyed. When you 
begin to descend the steep hill to Lewiston the drive is 
absolutely frightful. The cumbrous vehicle creaks, jolts, 
and swings, and, in spite of friction-breaks and other 
appliances, gradually acquires an impetus which sends it 
at full speed down the tremendous hill, and round the 
sharp comer, to the hotel at Lewiston. While I was 
waiting there watching the stages, and buying peaches, 
of which I got six for a penny, a stage came at full speed 
down the hill, with only two men on the driving-seat. 
The back straps had evidently given way, and the whole 
machine had a tendency to jump forward, when, in coming 
down the steepest part of the declivity, it got a jolt, and 
in the most ridiculous way turned "topsy-turvy," the 
roof coming down upon the horses' backs. The men were 
thrown off unhurt, but the poor animals were very much 
cut and bruised. 

I crossed Lake Ontario to Toronto in the Peerless^ a 
very smart, safe, iron steamer, with the saloon and chief 
weight below. The fittings of this beautiful little vessel 
are in perfect taste. We stopped for two hours at the 
wharf at Niagara, a town on the British side, protected 

Chap. IX. LAKE ONTARIO. 179 

ODce by a now disused and dismantled fort. The cars at 
length came up, two hours after their time, and the 
excuse given for the delay was, that they had run over a 

In grim contrast to the dismantled English Fort Ma9- 
sassaqua, Fort Niagara stands on the American side, and 
is a place of considerable strength. There I saw sentinels 
in grey uniforms, and the flag of the stars and stripes. 

Captain D — of the Peerless brought his beautiful little 
vessel from the Clyde in 6000 pieces, and is justly proud 
of her. I sat next him at dinner, and found that we 
knew some of the same people in Scotland. Gaelic was a 
further introduction ; and though so many thousand miles 
away, for a moment I felt myself at home when we 
spoke of the majestic CuchuUins and the heathery braes 
of Balquidder. In the Peerless every one took wine or 
liqueurs. There was no bill of fare, but a long list of 
wines and spirits was placed by each plate. Instead of 
being disturbed in the middle of dinner by a poke on 
the shoulder, and the demand, '* Dinner ticket, or fifty 
cents," I was allowed to remain as long as I pleased, 
and at the conclusion of the voyage a gentlemanly High- 
land purser asked me for my passage and dinner money 

We passed a number of brigs and schooners under full 
sail, their canvass remarkable for its whiteness; their 
hulls also were snowy white. They looked as though 
" they were drifting with the dead, to shores where all was 

Late in the evening we entered the harbour of Toronto, 
which is a very capacious one, and is protected by a 

180 TOBONTO. Chap. IX. 

natural mole of sand some miles in extent Though this 
breakwater has some houses and a few trees, it is the 
picture of dreary desolation. 

The city of Toronto, the stronghold of Canadian learn- 
ing and loyalty, presents an imposing appearance, as seen 
from the water. It stands on ground sloping upwards 
from the lake, and manufactories, colleges, asylums, church 
spires, and public buildings, the whole faced by a hand- 
some line of quays, present themselves at once to the 

A soft and familiar sound came off from the shore ; it 
was the well-known note of the British bugle, and the flag 
whose silken folds were rising and falling on the breeze 
was the meteor flag of England. Long may it brave 
" the battle and the breeze" ! English uniforms were 
glancing among the crowd on the quay, English faces sur- 
rounded me, English voices rang in my ears ; the nigligS 
costumes which met my eyes were in the best style of 
England. A thrill of pleasure went through my heart 
on finding, more than 4000 miles from home, the charac- 
teristics of my own loved land. 

But I must add that there were unpleasant cha- 
racteristics peculiarly English also. I could never have 
landed, the confusion was so great, had not Captain D — 
assisted me. One porter ran off with one trunk, another 
with another, while three were fighting for the possession 
of my valise, till silenced by the cane of a custom-house 
officer. Then there was a clamorous demand for 
" wharfage," and the hackman charged half a dollar for 
taking me a quarter of a mile. All this somewhat damped 
my ecstacies, and contrasted unfavourably with the orderly 

Chap. IX. TORONTO. 181 

and easy way in which I landed on the shore of the United 

At Russell's Hotel I rejoined Mr. and Mrs. Walrence, 
who said " they would have been extremely surprised if 
a lady in their country had met with the slightest diffi- 
culty or annoyance" in travelling alone for 700 miles ! 

My ecstacies were still further toned down when I woke 
the next morning with my neck, hands, and face stinging 
and swollen from the bites of innumerable mosquitoes. 

182 TOEONTO. Chap. X. 


The Place of Council — Its progress and its people — English hearts — 
" Sebastopol is taken " — Squibs and crackers — A ship on her 
beam-ends — Selfishness — A mongrel city — A Scot — Constancy 
rewarded — Monetary difl&culties — Detention on a bridge — A 
Canadian homestead — Life in the clearings — The bush on fire — 
A word on farming — The " bee *' and its produce — Eccentricities of 
Mr. Haldimands — A ride on a troop-horse — Scotch patriotism — 
An English church — The servant nuisance — Bichard Cobden. 

The people of Toronto informed me, immediately on my 
arrival in their city, that ** Toronto is the most English 
place to be met with out of England." At first I was at 
a loss to understand their meaning. Wooden houses, 
long streets crossing each other at right angles, and 
wooden side-walks, looked very un-English to my eye. 
But when I had been for a few days at Toronto, and had 
become accustomed to the necessarily-unfinished appear- 
ance of a town which has only enjoyed sixty years of 
existence, I fully agreed with the laudatory remarks 
passed upon it. The wooden houses have altogether dis- 
appeared from the principal streets, and have been replaced 
by substantial erections of brick and stone. The churches 
are numerous, and of tasteful architecture. The public 
edifices are well situated and very handsome. , King 
Street, the principal thoroughfare, is two miles in length, 
and the side-walks are lined with handsome shops. The 
outskirts of Toronto abound in villa residences, standing 

Chap. X. TOBOISTTO. 183 

in gardens or shrubberies. The people do not run " hurry 
skurrif^ along the streets, but there are no idlers to be 
observed. Hirsute eccentricities have also disappeared ; 
the beard is rarely seen, and the moustache is not considered 
a necessary ornament. The faded careworn look of the 
American ladies has given place to the bright complexion, 
the dimpled smile, and the active elastic tread, so peculiarly 
English. Indeed, in walking along the streets, there is 
nothing to tell that one is not in England ; and if anything 
were needed to complete the illusion, those sure tokens of 
British civilisation, a jail and a lunatic asylum, are not 

Toronto possesses in a remarkable degree the appear- 
ances of stability and progress. No town on the Western 
Continent has progressed more rapidly; certainly none 
more surely. I conversed with an old gentleman who 
remembered its site when it was covered with a forest, 
when the smoke of Indian wigwams ascended through 
the trees, and when wild fowl crowded the waters of the 
harbour. The place then bore the name of Toronto — ^the 
Place of Council. The name was changed by the first 
settlers to Little York, but in 1814 its euphonious name 
of Toronto was again bestowed upon it. Its population in 
1801 was 336 ; it is now nearly 50,000. 

Toronto is not the fungus growth, staring and wooden, 
of a temporary necessity ; it is the result of persevering 
industry, well-applied capital, and healthy and progressive 
commercial prosperity. Various railroads are in course 
of construction, which will make it the exporting market 
for the increasing produce of the interior; and as the 
migratory Canadian Legislature is now stationary at 

184 FALSE NEWS. Chap. X. 

Toronto for four years, its future progress will probably 
be more rapid than its past. Its wharfs are always 
crowded with freight and passenger steamers, by which 
it communicates two or three times a day with the great 
cities of the United States, and Quebec and Montreal. 
It is the seat of Canadian learning, and, besides excel- 
lent schools, possesses a university, and several theo- 
logical and general seminaries. The society is said to be 
highly superior. I give willing testimony in favour of this 
assertion, from the little which I saw of it, but an attack 
of ague prevented me from presenting my letters of intro- 
duction. It is a very musical place, and at Toronto Jenny 
Lind gave the only concerts with which she honoured 
Canada. A large number of the inhabitants are Scotch, 
which may account for the admirable way in which the 
Sabbath is observed. 

If I was pleased to find that the streets, the stores, the 
accent, the manners were English, I was rejoiced to see 
that from the highest to the lowest the hearts of the 
people were English also. I was at Toronto when the 
false despatch was received announcing the capture of 
Sebastopol and of the Russian army. I was spending the 
evening at the house of a friend, when a gentleman ran 
in to say that the church bells were ringing for a great 
victory ! It was but the work of a few minutes for us to 
jump into a hack, and drive at full speed to the office of 
the Globe newspaper, where the report was apparently 
confirmed. A great crowd in a state of eager excitement 
besieged the doors, and presently a man mounted on a 
lamp-post read the words, ^^ Sebastopol is 'taken I The 
Russian Jket burnt I Eighteen thousand killed and wounded* 


Loss of the Allies^ two thousand Jive hundred^ Tliis 
news had been telegraphed from Boston, and surely the 
trembling tongue of steel had never before told such a 
bloody tale. One shout of " Hurrah for Old England " 
burst from the crowd, and hearty English cheers were 
given, which were caught up and repeated down the 
crowded streets of Toronto. The shout thrilled through 
my heart ; it told that the flag of England waved over 
the loyal, true-hearted, and brave ; it told of attachment 
to the constitution and the throne ; it told that in our 
times of difficulty and danger " St. George and merry 
England " would prove a gathering cry even on the pros- 
perous shores of Lake Ontario. Greater enthusiasm 
could not have been exhibited on the receipt of this 
false but glorious news in any city at home. The bells, 
which a few days before had tolled for the catastrophe of ' 
the Arctic^ now pealed forth in triumph for the victory of 
the Alma. Toronto knew no rest on that night. Those 
who rejoiced over a victory gained over the northern 
despot were those who had successfully resisted the 
despotism of a band of rebels. The streets were almost 
impassable from the crowds who thronged them. Hand- 
rockets exploded almost into people's eyes — serpents and 
squibs were hissing and cracking over the pavements — 
and people were rushing in all directions for fuel for the 
different bonfires. The largest of these was opposite the 
St. Lawrence Hall. It was a monster one of tar-barrels, 
and lighted up the whole street, paling the sickly flame 
of the gas-lamps. There was a large and accumulating 
crowd round it, shouting, " Hurrah for Old England 1 
Down with the Rooshians ! Three cheers for the Queen !" 


and the like. Sky-rockets were blazing high in air, 
men were rushing about firing muskets, tlie small swivels 
of the steamers at the wharfs were firing incessantly, and 
carts with combustibles were going at full speed along 
the streets, each fresh arrival being hailed with enthu- 
Mastic cheering. There were firemen, too, in their pic* 
turesque dresses, who had turned out at the first sound of 
the bells, and their services were soon put in requisition, 
for enthusiasm produced recklessness, and two or three 
shingle-roofs were set on fire by the descent of rockets 
upon them. This display of attachment to England was 
not confined to the loyal and aristocratic city of Toronto ; 
at Hamilton, a thriving commercial place, of sui^ected 
American tendencies, the town-council was assembled at 
the time the despatch was received, and instantly voted a 
sum for an illumination. 

From my praise of Toronto I must except the hotels, 
which are of a very inferior class. They are a poor imi* 
tation of those in the States. Russell's Hotel, at which 
I stayed for eight days, was a disagreeable contrast to 
the National Hotel at Detroit, and another of some pre^ 
tensions, the North American, was said to be even more 
comfortless. The bedrooms at Russell's swarmed with 
mosquitoes ; and the waiters, who were runaway slaves^ 
were inattentive and uncivil. 

After staying some little time with my friends at 
Toronto, I went to pay a visit to some friends at Ha- 
milton. The afternoon was very windy and stormy. The 
lake looked very unpromising from the wharf; the island 
protected the harbour, but beyond this the waves were 
breaking with fiiry. Several persons who came down, 


intending to take their passage for Hamilton, were de* 
terred by the threatening aspect of the weather, but, not 
having heard anything against the character of Lake 
Ontario, I had sufficient confidence in it to persevere in 
my intention. I said to the captain, '' I suppose it won't 
be rough ?" to which he replied that he could not flatter 
me by saying so, adding that he had never seen so many 
persons sick as in the morning. Dinner was served 
immediately on our leaving the harbour, but the number 
of those who sat down, at first about thirty, soon dimi"^ 
nished to five, the others having rushed in a most mys* 
terious manner to state rooms or windows. For my own 
part, I cannot say that the allowed excellence of the 
cuisine tempted me to make a very substantial meal, and 
I was glad of an excuse for retiring to a state-room, 
which I shared with a lady who had just taken leave of 
her three children. This cahin was very prettily arranged, 
but the movements of things were rather erratic, and my 
valise gave most disagreeable manifestations of spiritual 

The ship was making little way, and rolling and pitch- 
ing fearfully, and, knowing how very top-heavy she was, 
I did not at all like the glimpses of raging water which 
I with difficulty obtained through the cabin windows. To 
understand what followed it will be necessary for the 
reader to recollect that the saloon and state-rooms in this 
vessel formed an erection or deck-house about eight feet 
high upon the deck, and that the part of the saloon 
where most of the passengers were congregated, as well 
as the state-room where I was sitting, were within a few 
feet of the bow of the ship> and consequently exposed to 


the fury of the waves. I had sat in my state-room for 
half an liour, feeling very apathetic, and wishing myself 
anywhere hut where I was, when something struck the 
ship, and the wretched fabric fell over on her side. 
Another and another — then silence for a second, broken 
only by the crash and roar of winds and waters. The 
inner door burst open, letting in an inundation of water. 
My companion jumped up, shrieking, " Oh, my children ! 
weVe lost — we're lost I" and crawled, pale and trembling, 
into the saloon. The vessel was lying on her side, there- 
fore locomotion was most diflScult; but sea-sick people 
were emerging from their state-rooms, shrieking, some 
that they were lost — others for their children — others for 
mercy ; while a group of gentlemen, less noisy, but not 
less frightened, and drenched to the skin, were standing 
together, with pale and ashy faces. " What is the 
matter?*' inquired my companion, taking hold of one of 
these men. " Say your prayers, for we are going down," 
was the brutal reply. For the first and only time during 
my American travels I was really petrified with fear. 
Suddenly a wave struck the hapless vessel, and with a 
stunning crash broke through the thin woodwork of the 
side of the saloon. I caught hold of a life-buoy which 
was near me — a gentleman clutched it from me, for fright 
makes some men selfish — and, breathless, I was thrown 
down into the gurgling water. I learned then how quickly 
thoughts can pass through the mind, for in those few 
seconds I thought less of die anticipated death-strn^e 
amid the boiling surges of the lake, and of the quiet 
sleep beneath its gloomy waters, than of the unsatisiactoiy 
manner in which those at home would glean the terrible 

Chap. X. THE DANGEE OYER. 189 

tidings from the accident columns of a newspaper. Another 
minute, and I was swept through the open door into a 
state-room — another one of suspense, and the ship righted 
as if by a superhuman effort. There seemed a respite — 
there was a silence, broken only by the roar of winds and 
waves, and with the respite came hope. Shortly after, the 
master of the ship appeared, with his hat off, and com- 
pletely drenched. " Thank God, we're safe !" he said, 
and returned to his duty. We had all supposed.that we 
had struck on a rock or wreck. I never knew the precise 
nature of our danger beyond this, that the vessel had 
been thrown on her beam-ends in a squall, and that, the 
wind immediately veering round, the fury of the waves 
had been spent upon her. 

Many of the passengers now wished the captain to 
return, but he said that he should incur greater danger in 
an attempt to make the harbour of Toronto than by pro- 
ceeding down the open lake. For some time nothing was 
to be seen but a dense fog, a storm of sleet which quite 
darkened the air, and raging waves, on which we mounted 
sometimes, while at others we were buried between them. 
In another hour the gale had completely subsided, and, 
after we had changed our drenched habiliments, no token 
remained of the previous storm but the drowned and dis- 
mantled appearance of the saloon, and the resolution on 
my own mind never to trust myself again on one of these 
fearful lakes. I was amused to observe that those people 
who had displayed the greatest symptoms of fear during' 
the storm were the first to protest that, " as for them, 
they never thought there was any danger." The after- 
noon, though cold, was extremely beautiful, but, owing to 

190 LAKE ONTAEIO. Chap. X. 

the storm in the early part of our voyage, we did not 
reach Hamilton till nightfall, or three hours after our 
appointed time. 

I do not like these inland lakes, or tideless fresh-water 
seas, as they may more appropriately be termed. I know 
Lake Ontario well ; I have crossed it twice, and have 
been up and down it five times. I have sojourned upon 
its shores, and have seen them under the hot light of an 
autumn sun, and underneath a mantle of wintry snow ; 
but there is to me something peculiarly oppressive about 
this vast expanse of water. If the lake is rough, there 
are no harbours of refuge in which to take shelter — ^if 
calm, the waters, though blue, pure, and clear, look 
monotonous and dead. The very ships look lonely 
things ; their hulls and sails are white, and some of them 
have been known in time of cholera to drift over the lake 
irom day to day, with none to guide the helm. The 
shores, too, are fiat and uninteresting ; my eyes wearied 
of following that interminable boundary of trees stretching 
away to the distant horizon. 

Yet Lake Ontario afibrds great advantages to both 
Canada and the United States. The former has the large 
towns of Hamilton, Toronto, and Kingston on its shores, 
with the exporting places of Oakville, Credit, and Co- 
bourg. The important towns of Oswego and Rochester, 
with smaller ones too numerous to name> are on the 
American side. This lake is five hundred miles round, 
and, owing to its very great depth, never freezes, except 
just along the shores. An immense trade is carried on 
upon it, both in steamers and sailing vessels. A ship- 
canal connects Lake Ontario with Lake Erie, thereby 

Chap. X. HAMILTON, 191 

overcoming the obstacle to navigation produced by the 
Falls of Niagara. This stupendous work is called the 
Welland Ganal. 

At Hamilton I received a most cordial welcome from 
the friends whom I went to visit, and saw something of 
the surrounding country. It is, I think, the most bust- 
ling place in Canada. It is a very juvenile city, yet 
already has a population of twenty-five thousand people. 
The stores and hotels are handsome, and the streets 
are brilliantly lighted with gas. Hamilton has a pecu- 
liarly unfinished appearance. Indications of progress 
meet one on every side — there are houses being built, and 
houses being pulled down to make room for larger and 
more substantial ones — streets are being extended, and 
new ones are being staked out, and every external feature 
seems to be acquiring fresh and rapid development. 
People hurry about as if their lives depended on their 
speed. " I guess " and " I calculate " are frequently 
heard, together with " Well posted up," and " A long 
chalk;" and locomotives and steamers whistle all day 
long. Hamilton is a very Americanised place. I heard 
of " grievances, independence, and annexation," and, alto- 
gether, should have supposed it to be on the other side of 
the boundary-line. 

It is situated on a little lake, called Burlington Bay, 
separated from Lake Ontario by a narrow strip of 
sandy shingle. This has been cut through, and, as two 
steamers leave the pier at Hamilton at the same hour 
every morning, there is a daily and very exciting race 
for the first entrance into the narrow passage. This 
racing is sometimes productive of very serious collisions. 


Tlie town is built upon very low and aguish ground, 
at the foot of a peculiar and steep eminence, which the 
inhabitants dignify with the name of the Mountain. I 
ascended this mountain, which might better be called 
a molehill, by a flight of a hundred and thirty steps. 
The view from the top was very magnificent, but, as an 
elevated building offered us one still more extensive, we 
ascended to the roof by six flights of steps, to see a 
camera obscura which was ostentatiously advertised. A 
very good camera obscura might have been worth so 
long an ascent in a house redolent of spirits and onions ; 
but after we had reached the top, with a great expen- 
diture of toil and breath, a ragged, shoeless little boy 
very pompously opened the door of a small wooden 
erection, and introduced us to four panes of coloured 
glass, through which we viewed the town of Hamilton, 
under the different aspects of spring, summer, autumn, 
and winter I 

Dundum Castle, a handsome, castellated, baronial- 
looking building, the residence of the present Premier, 
Sir Allan M'Nab, is near Hamilton, and it has besides 
some very handsome stone villa residences. There I saw, 
for the first and only time in the New World, beautifully 
kept grass lawns, with flower-beds in the English style. 
One very fine morning, when the maple-leaves were tinted 
with the first scarlet of the fall, my friends took me to 
see Ancaster and Dundas; the former, an old place, 
very like some of our grey, quiet Lancashire villages — 
the latter a good type of the rapid development and en- 
terprising spirit which are making Canada West to rival 
the States in rapidity of progress. There were bridges 


in course of construction — railway embankments swarm- 
ing with labourers — macadamised roads succeeding those 
of corduroy and plank — snake-fences giving place to 
those of posts and rails, and stone walls — ^and saw and 
grist mills were springing up wherever a ** water privi- 
lege.** could be found. Laden waggons proceeded heavily 
along the roads, and the encouraging announcements of 
** Cash for wheat," and " Cash for wool," were frequently 
to be seen. The views were very fine as we skirted the 
Mountain, but Canadian scenery is monotonous and rather 
gloomy ; though the glorious tints of the American fall 
give the leaves of some of the trees the appearance rather 
of tropical flowers than of foliage. 

Ancaster is an old place, outstripped by towns of ten 
years' existence, as it has neither a port nor a river. There 
was an agricultural show, and monster pumpkins and 
overgrown cabbages were displayed to admiring crowds, 
tinder the shadow of a prodigious union jack. 

Dundas, a near neighbour of Ancaster, has completely 
eclipsed it. This appears to be one of the busiest little 
places in Canada West. It is a collection of woollen- 
mills, grist-mills, and iron-foundries ; and though, in my 
preformed notions of political economy, I had supposed 
manufactures suited exclusively to an old country, in 
which capital and labour are alike redundant, the aspect 
of this place was most thriving. In one of the flour-mills 
the machinery seemed as perfect as in the biscuit factory 
at Portsmouth — by some ingenious mechanism the flour 
was cooled, barrelled, and branded with great celerity. 
At an iron-foundry I was surprised to find that steam- 
engines and flour-mill machinery could not be manufac- 


tured fast enough to meet the demand. In this neigh- 
bourhood I heard rather an interesting anecdote of what 
steady perseverance can do, in the history of a Scot from 
the shores of the Forth. 

This young man was a pauper boy, and was appren- 
ticed to the master of an iron-foundry in Scotland, but 
ran away before the expiration of his apprenticeship, and, 
entering a ship at Glasgow, worked his passage across to 
Quebec. Here he gained employment for some months 
as a porter, and, having saved a little money, went up to 
the neighbourhood of Lake Simcoe, where he became a 
day labourer. Here he fell in love with his master's 
daughter, who returned his affection, but her father scorn- 
fully rejected the humble Scotchman's suit. Love but 
added an incentive to ambition ; and obtaining work in a 
neighbouring township, he increased his income by teach- 
ing reading, writing, and arithmetic in the evenings. He 
lived penuriously, denied himself even necessaries, and 
carefully treasured his hoarded savings. Late one even- 
ing, clothed almost in rags, he sought the house of his 
lady-love, and told her that within two years he would 
come to claim her hand of her father, with a waggon and 
pair of horses. 

Still in his ragged clothing, for it does not appear that 
he had any other, he trudged to Toronto, and sought em- 
ployment, his accumulated savings sewn up in the lining 
of his waistcoat. He went about from person to person, 
but could not obtain employment, and his waggon and 
horses receded further and further in the dim perspective. 
One day, while walking along at the unfinished end of 
King Street West, he saw something glittering in the 

Chap.X. scotch PEESEVEEANCE. 195 

mud, and, on taking it up, found it to be the steel snap of 
a pocket-book. This pocket-book contained notes to the 
amount of one hundred and fifty dollars ; and the next 
day a reward of five-and-twenty was offered to the finder 
of them. The Scotchman waited on the owner, who was 
a tool manufacturer, and, declining the reward, asked 
only for work, for " leave to toil," as Bums has expressed 
it. This was granted him ; and in less than four months 
he became a clerk in the establishment. His salary was 
gradually raised — ^in the evenings he obtained employment 
in writing for a lawyer, and his savings, judiciously ma- 
naged, increased to such an extent, that at the end of 
eighteen months he purchased a thriving farm in the 
neighbourhood of London, and, as there was water-power 
up<Hi it, be built a grist-mill. His industry still continued 
successful, and just before the two years expired he drove 
in a light waggon, with two hardy Canadian horses, to 
the dwelling of his former master, to claim his daughter's 
hand ; though, be it remembered, he had never held any 
communication with her since he parted from her in rags 
two years before. At first they did not recognise the 
vagrant, ragged Scotch labourer, in the well-dressed 
driver and possessor of the ^' knowing-looking" equipage. 
His altered circumstances removed all difficulty on the 
&ther'8 part — the maiden had been constant — and soon 
afterwards they were married. He still continued to 
prosper, and add land to laud ; and three years after his 
marriage sent twenty pounds to his former master in 
Scotland, as a compensation for the loss of his services. 
Strange to say, the son of that very master is now em- 
ployed in the mill of the runaway apprentice. Such 

K 2 


instances as this, while they afford encouragement to 
honest industry, show at the same time the great capa- 
bilities of Canada West. 

At Hamilton, where the stores are excellent, I made 
several purchases, but I was extremely puzzled with the 
Canadian currency. The States money is very con- 
venient I soon understood dollars, cents, and dimes ; but 
in the colonies I never knew what ray money was worth. 
In Prince Edward Island the sovereign is worth thirty 
shillings ; in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia twenty- 
five ; while in Canada, at the time of my visit, it was 
worth twenty-four and fourpence. There your shilling is. 
fifteenpence, or a quarter-dollar; while your quarter- 
dollar is ^ shilling. Your sixpence is sevenpence-half- 
penny, or a "York shilling;'* while your penny is a 
"copper" of indeterminate value apparently. Compa- 
ratively speaking, very little metallic money is in circula- 
tion. You receive bills marked five shillings, when, to 
your surprise, you can only change them for four metallic 
shillings. Altogether in Canada I had to rely upon 
people's honesty, or probably on their ignorance of my 
ignorance ; for any attempts at explanation only made 
"confusion worse confounded," and I seldom compre- 
hended anything of a higher grade than a " York shilling.'* 
From my stupidity about the currency, and my frequent 
query, " How many dollars or cents is it ? " together with 
my offering dirty crumpled pieces of paper bearing such 
names as Troy, Palmyra, and Geneva, which were in 
fact notes of American banks which might have suspended 
payment, I was constantly taken, not for an ignoramus 
from the "Old Country," but for a "genuine Down- 

Chap. X. LAKE ONTARIO. 197 

Easter." Canadian credit is excellent ; but the banking 
system of the States is on a very insecure footing; 
some bank or other "breaks" every day, and lists of 
the defaulters are posted up in the steamboats and 

Within a few days after my resolution never again to 
trust myself on Lake Ontario, I sailed down it, on a very 
beautiful morning, to Toronto. The royal mail steamer 
Arabian raced with us for the narrow entrance to the 
canal which connects Burlington Bay with the main lake, 
and both captains " piled on " to their utmost ability, but 
the Arabian passed us in triumph. The morning was 
80 very fine, that I half forgot my dislike to Lake Ontario. 
On the land side there was a succession of slightly 
elevated promontories, covered with forests abounding in 
recent clearings, their sombre colouring being relieved 
by the brilliant blue of the lake. I saw, for the only time, 
that beautiful phenomenon called the " water-mirage," by 
which trees, ships, and houses are placed in the most 
extraordinary and sometimes inverted positions. Yet 
still these endless promontories stretched away, till their 
distant outlines were lost in the soft blue haze of the 
Indian summer. Yet there was an oppressiveness about 
the tideless water and pestilential shore, and the white- 
hulled ships looked like deserted punished things, whose 
doom for ages was to be ceaseless sailing over these 
gloomy waters. 

At Toronto my kind friend Mr. Forrest met me. He 
and his wife had invited me some months before to visit 
them in their distant home in the Canadian biLsh ; there- 
fore I was not a little surprised at the equipage which 


awaited me at the hotel, as I had expected to jolt for 
twenty-two miles, over corduroy roads, in a lumber- 
waggon. It was the most dashing vehicle which I saw 
in Canada. It was a most unbush-like^ sporting-looking, 
high, mail phaeton, mounted by four steps ; it had three 
seats, a hood in front, and a rack for luggage behind. It 
would hold eight persons. The body and wheels were 
painted bright scarlet and black ; and it was drawn by a 
pair of very showy-looking horses, about sixteen " hands" 
high, with elegant and well-blacked harness. Mr. 
Forrest looked more like a sporting English squire than 
an emigrant. 

We drove out of Toronto by the Lake shore road, and 
I could scarcely believe we were not by the sea, for a 
heavy surf was rolling and crashing upon the beach, and 
no land was in sight on the opposite side. After some 
time we came to a stream, with a most clumsy swing 
bridge, which was open for the passage of two huge rafts 
laden with flour. This proceeding had already occupied 
more than an hour, as we were informed by some unfor- 
timate detenus. We waited for half an hour while the 
raftmen dawdled about it, but the rafts could not get 
through the surf, so they were obliged to desist. I now 
reasonably supposed that they would have shut the bridge 
as fast as possible, as about twenty vehicles, with nume- 
rous foot-passengers, were waiting on either side ; but no, 
they moved it for a little distance, then smoked a bit, then 
moved it a few inches and smoked again, and so on for 
another half-hour, while we were exposed to a pitiless 
north-east wind. They evidently enjoyed our discomfiture, 
and were trying how much of annoyance we would bear 

Chap. X. EMIGEAlTr MANNERS. 199 

patiently. Ilery tempers have to be curbed in Canada 
West, for the same spirit which at home leads men not to 
"touch their hats^' to those above them in station, here 
would vent itself in open insolence and arrogance, if one 
requested them to be a little quicker in their motions. 
The fabric would hardly come together at all, and then 
only three joists appeared without anything to cover them. 
This the men seemed to consider un fait accompli^ and 
sat down to smoke. At length, when it seemed impossible 
to bear a longer detention with any semblance of patience, 
they covered these joists with some planks, over which our 
horses, used to pick their way, passed in safety, not, how- 
ever, without overturning one of the boards, and leaving 
a most dangerous gap. This was a favourable specimen 
of a Canadian bridge. 

The manners of the emigrants who settle in Canada are 
far from prepossessing. Wherever I heard torrents of 
slang and abuse of England; wherever I noticed bru- 
tality of manner, unaccompanied by respect to ladies, I 
always found upon inquiry that the delinquent had 
newly arrived from the old country. Some time before 
I visited America, I saw a letter from a young man who 
had emigrated, containing these words : " Here I haven't 
to hour and cringe to gentlemen of the aristocracy — that 
is, to a man who has a better coat on than myself" I was 
not prepared to find this feeling so very prevalent among 
the lower classes in our own possessions. The children 
are an improvement on their parents, and develop loyal 
and constitutional sentiments. The Irish are the noisiest 
of the enemies of England, and carry with them to 
Canada the most inveterate enmity to " Sassenach " rule. 


The term ^^ slang-whangers^^ must have been invented for 

After some miles of very bad road, which once had 
been corduroy, we got upon a plank-road, upon which the 
draught is nearly as light as upon a railroad. When 
these roads are good, the driving upon them is very easy; 
when they are out of repair it is just the reverse. We 
came to an Indian village of clap-board houses, built 
some years ago by Government for some families of the 
Six Nations who resided here with their chief ; but they 
disliked the advances of the white man, and their rem- 
nants have removed farther to the west. We drove 
for many miles through woods of the American oak, little 
more than brushwood, but gorgeous in all shades of 
colouring, from the scarlet of the geranium to deep 
crimson and Tyrian purple. Oh ! our poor faded tints 
of autumn, about which we write sentimental poetry! 
Turning sharply round a bank of moss, and descending a 
long hill, we entered the bush. There all my dreams of 
Canadian scenery were more than realised. Trees grew 
in every variety of the picturesque. The forest was 
dark and oppressively still, and such a deadly chill came 
on, that I drew my cloak closer around me. A fragrant 
but heavy smell arose, and Mr. Forrest said that we were 
going down into a cedar swamp, where there was a 
chill even in the hottest weather. It was very beautiful. 
Emerging from this, we came upon a little whitewashed 
English church, standing upon a steep knoll, with its 
little spire rising through the trees; and leaving this 
behind, we turned off upon a road through very wild 
country. The ground had once been cleared, but no use 


had been made of it, and it was covered with charred 
stamps about two feet high. Beyond this appeared an 
interminable bush. Mr. Forrest told me that his house 
was near, and, from the appearance of the country, I 
expected to come upon a log cabin ; but we turned into 
a field, and drove under some very fine apple-trees to a 
house the very perfection of elegance and comfort. It 
looked as if a pretty villa from Norwood or Hampstead 
had been transported to this Canadian clearing. The 
dwelling was a substantially built brick one-storied house, 
with a deep green verandah surrounding it, as a protection 
fi'om the snow in winter and the heat in summer. Apple- 
trees, laden with richly-coloured fi*uit, were planted round, 
and sumach-trees, in all the glorious colouring of the fall, 
were opposite the front door. The very house seemed to 
snule a welcome ; and seldom have I met a more cordial 
one than I received from Mrs. Forrest, the kindly and 
graceful hostess, who met me at the door, her pretty 
simple dress of pink and white muslin contrasting 
strangely with the charred stumps which were in sight, 
and the long lines of gloomy bush which stood out dark 
and sharp against the evening sky. 

"Will you go into the drawing-room?" asked Mrs. 
Forrest. I was surprised, for I had not associated a 
drawing-room with emigrant life in Canada; but I 
followed her along a pretty entrance-lobby, floored with 
polished oak, into a hofty room, furnished with all the 
elegances and luxuries of the mansion of an affluent 
Englishman at home, a beautiful piano not being wanting. 
It was in this house, containing every comfort, and wel- 
comed with the kindest hospitality, that I received my 

K 3 


first impressions of "life in the clearings." My hosts 
were only recovering from the fatigues of a " thrashing- 
bee " of the day before, and, while we were playing at 
bagatelle, one of the gentlemen assistants came to the door, 
and asked if the " Boss " were at home. A lady told me 
that, when she first came out, a servant asked her " How 
the boss liked his shirts done ? " As Mrs. Moodie had 
not then enlightened the world on the subject of settlers' 
slang, the lady did not understand her, and asked what 
she meant by the " boss," — ^to which she replied, *' Why, 
lawk, missus, your hubby, to be sure." 

I spent some time with these kind and most agreeable 
friends, and returned to them after a visit to the Falls of 
Niagara. My sojourn with them is among my sunniest 
memories of Canada. Though my expectations were in 
one sense entirely disappointed on awaking to the plea- 
sant consciousness of reposing on the softest of feathers, I 
did not feel romance enough to wish myself on a bufialo 
robe on the floor of a log-cabin. Nearly every day I 
saw some operation of Canadian farming, with its diffi- 
culties and pleasures. Among the former is that of 
obtaining men to do the work. The wages given are 
five shillings per diem, and in many cases "rations" 
besides. While I was at Mr. Forrest's, two men were 
sinking a well, and one coolly took up his tools and 
walked away because only half a pound of butter had 
been allowed for breakfast. Mr. Forrest possesses sixty 
acres of land, fifteen of which are still in bush. The 
bams are very large and substantial, more so than at 
home ; for no produce can be left out of doors in the 
winter. There were two hundred and fifty bushels of 


wheat, the produce of a " thrashing bee," and various 
other edibles. Oxen, huge and jwwerful, do all the 
draught-work on this farm, and their stable looked the 
very perfection of comfort Round the house " snake- 
fences " had given place to those of post and rail ; but a 
few hundred yards away was the uncleared bush. The 
land thus railed round had been cleared for some years ; 
the grass is good, and the stumps few in number. Leav- 
ing this, we came to the stubble of last year, where the 
stumps were more numerous, and then to the land only 
cleared in the spring, covered thickly with charred 
stumps, the soil rich and black, and wheat springing up 
in all directions. Beyond this there was nothing but 
bush. A scramble through a bush, though very interest- 
ing in its way, produces disagreeable consequences. 

When the excitement of the novelty was over, and I 
returned to the house, I contemplated with very woeful 
feelings the inroad which had been made upon my ward* 
robe — the garments torn in all directions beyond any 
possibility of repair, and the shoes reduced to the con- 
sistency of soaked brown paper with wading through a 
bog. It was a serious consideration to me, who at that 
time was travelling through the West with a very 
small and very wayworn- portmanteau, with Glasgow, 
Torquay, Boston, Rock Island, and I know not what 
besides upon it. The bush, however, for the time being, 
was very enjoyable, in spite of numerous bruises and 
scratches. Huge pines raised their heads to heaven, 
others lay prostrate and rotting away, probably thrown 
down in some tornado. In the distance numbers of 
trees were lying on the ground, and men were cutting 

204 THE BUSH ON FIRE. Chap. X. 

off their branches and burning them in heaps, which 
slowly smouldered away, and sent up clouds of curling 
blue smoke, which diffused itself as a thin blue veil over 
the dark pines. 

This bush is in dangerous proximity to Mr. Forrest's 
house. The fire ran through it in the spring, and many 
of the trees, which are still standing, are blackened by its 
effects. One night in April, after a prolonged drought, 
just as the household were retiring to rest, Mr. Forrest 
looked out of the window, and saw a light in the bush 
scarcely bigger or brighter than a glow-worm. Pre^ 
sently it rushed up a tall pine, entwining its fiery arms 
round the very highest branches. The fire burned on 
for a fortnight ; they knew it must bum till rain came, 
and Mr. Forrest and his man never left it day or night, 
all their food being carried to the bush. One night, 
during a breeze, it made a sudden rush towards the 
house. In a twinkling they got out the oxen and plough, 
and, some of the neighbours coming to their assistance, 
they ploughed up so much soil between the fire and the 
stubble round the house, that it stopped ; but not before 
Mr. Forrest's straw hat was burnt, and the hair of the oxen 
singed. Mrs. Forrest meanwhile, though trembling for 
her husband's safety, was occupied in wetting blankets, 
and carrying them to the roof of the house, for the dry 
shingles would have been ignited by a spark. On our 
return, it was necessary to climb over some ''snake " or 
zigzag fences about six feet high. These are fences 
peculiar to new countries, and though very cheap, re- 
quiring neither tools nor nails, have a peculiarly untidy 
appearance. It is not thought wise to buy a farm which 


has not enough bush or growing timber for both rails and 

In clearing, of which I saw all the processes, the first 
is to cut down the trees, in which difficult operation axes 
of British manufacture are rendered useless after a few 
hours' work. The trees are cut about two feet above 
the root, and often bring others down with them in their 
fall. Sometimes these trees are split up at the time into 
rails or firewood ; sometimes dragged to the saw-mills to 
be made into lumber ; but are often piled into heaps and 
burnt — a necessary but prodigal waste of wood, to which 
I never became reconciled. When the wood has been 
cleared ofi^, wheat is sown among the stumps, and then 
grass, which appears only to last about four years. Fire 
is put on the tops of these unsightly stumps to bum 
them down as much as possible, and when it is supposed, 
after two or three years, that the roots have rotted in the 
ground, several oxen are attached by a chain to each, 
and pull it out. Generally this is done by means of a 
*' logging bee." I must explain this term, as it refers 
neither to the industrious insect nor the imperial bee of 
Napoleon. The very name reminds me of early rising, 
healthy activity, merriment, and a well-spread board. 

A " bee " is a necessity arising from the great scarcity 
of labour in the New World. When a person wishes to 
thrash his corn, he gives notice to eight or ten of his 
neighbours, and a day is appointed on which they are to 
meet at his house. For two or three days before, grand 
culinary preparations' are made by the hostess, and on 
the preceding evening a table is loaded with provisions. 
The morning comes, and eight or ten stalwart Saxons 

206 CANADIAN " BEES." Chap. X. 

make their appearance, and work hard till noon, while 
the lady of the house is engaged in hotter work befcnre 
the fire, in the preparation of hot meat, puddings, and 
pies; for well she knows that the good humour of her 
guests depends on the quantity and quality of her viands. 
They come in to dinner, black (firom the dust of a pecu- 
liar Canadian weed), hot, tired, hungry, and thirsty. 
They eat as no other people eat, and set all our notions 
of the separability of diiSTerent yiands at defiance. At the 
end of the day they have a very substantial supper, with 
plenty of whisky, and, if everything has been satisfactory, 
the convivial proceedings are prolonged till past midnight 
The giver of a " bee " is bound to attend the " bees " of 
all his neighbours. A " thrashing bee " is considered 
a very " slow afiisdr '* by the younger portion of the 
community. There are "quilting bees," where the 
thick quilts, so necessary in Canada, are fabricated; 
*' apple bees," where this fruit is sliced and strung for 
the winter ; " shelling bees," where peas in bushels are 
shelled and barrelled; and "lo^ng bees," where the 
decayed stumps in the clearings are rooted up by oxen. 
At the quilting, apple, and shelling bees there are 
numbers of the fair sex, and games, dandng, and merry- 
making are invariably kept up till the morning. 

In the winter, as in the eastern colonies, all outdoor 
employments are stopped, and dancing and evening 
parties of difierent kinds are continually given. The 
whole country is like one vast road, and the fine, cold, 
aurora-lighted nights are cheery with the lively sound of 
the sleigh-bells, as merry parties, envelopied in furs, drive 
briskly over the crisp surface of the snow. 


T^e way of life at Mr. Forrest's was peculiarly agree- 
able. The breakfast-hour was nominally seven, and 
afterwards Mr. Forrest went out to his farm. The one 
Irish servant, who never seemed happy with her shoes on, 
was capable of little else than boiling potatoes, so all the 
preparations for dinner devolved upon Mrs. Forrest, who 
till she came to Canada had never attempted anything 
in the culinary line. I used to accompany her into the 
kitchen, and learned how to solve the problem which 
puzzled an English king, viz. ^^ How apples get into a 
dumpling." We dined at the mediaeval hour of twelve, 
and everything was of home raising. Fresh meat is a 
rarity ; but a calf had been killed, and furnished dinners 
for seven days, and the most marvellous thing was, that 
each day it was dressed in a different manner, Mrs. For- 
rest's skill in this respect rivalling that of Alexis Soyer, 
A home-fed pig, one of eleven slaughtered on one fell 
day, produced the excellent ham ; the squash and potatoes 
were from the garden ; and the bread and beer were from 
home-grown wheat and hops. After dinner Mr. Forrest 
and I used to take lengthy rides, along wild roads, on 
horses of extraordinary capabilities, and in the evening 
we used to have bagatelle and reading aloud. Such was 
life in the clearings. On one or two evenings some very 
agreeable neighbours came in ; and in addition to baga- 
telle we had puzzles, conundrums, and conjuring tricks. 
One of these " neighbours " was a young married lady, 
the prettiest person I bad seen in America. She was a 
French Canadian, and added to the graces of person and 
manner for which they are famed a cleverness and 
sprightliness peculiarly her own. I was very much 

208 AN ECCENTRIC. Chap. X. 

pleased with the friendly, agreeable society of the neigh- 
bourhood. There are a great many gentlemen residing 
there, with fixed incomes, who have adopted Canada as 
their home because of the comforts which they can enjoy in 
an untaxed country, and one in which it is not necessary 
to keep up appearances. For instance, a gentleman does 
not lose caste by grooming his own horse, or driving his 
own produce to market in a lumber-waggon ; and a lady 
is not less a lady, though she may wear a dress and 
bonnet of a fashion three years old. 

I was surprised one morning by the phenomenon of 
some morning-callers — ^yes, morning-callers in a Canadian 
clearing. I sighed to think that such a pest and accom- 
paniment of civilisation should have crossed the Atlantic. 
The *' callers " of that morning, the Haldimands, amused 
me very much. They give themselves great airs — Canada 
with them is a " wretched hole ;'' the society is composed 
of " boors." In a few minutes they had asked me who I 
was — where I came from — what I was doing there — how 
I got to know my friends- — and if I had come to live with 
them. Mr. Haldimands, finding I came from England, 
asked me if I knew a certain beautiful young lady, and 
recounted his flirtations with her. Dukes, earls, and 
viscounts flowed from his nimble tongue — '' When I was 
hunting with Lord this,'' or " When I was waltzing with 
Lady that." His regrets were after the Opera and 
Almack's, and his height of felicity seemed to be driving 
a four-in-hand drag. After expatiating to me in the 
most vociferous manner on the delights of titled society, 
he turned to Mrs. Forrest and said, " After the society in 
which we used to move, you may imagine how distasteful 


all this is to us " — barely a civil speech, I thought. This 
eccentric individual was taking a lady, whom he consi* 
dered a person of consequence, a drive in a carriage, 
when a man driving a lumber-waggon kept crossing the 
road in front of him, hindering his progress. Mr. Haldi-> 
mands gradually got into a towering passion, which re- 
sulted in his springing out, throwing the reins to the lady, 
and rushing furiously at the teamster with his fists squared^ 
shouting in a perfect scream, " Flesh and blood can't bear 
this. One of us must die I" The man whipped up his 
horses and made off, and Mr. Haldimands tried, in vain 
to hush up a story which made him appear so superla* 
tively ridiculous. 

We actually paid some morning visits, and I thought 
the society very agreeable and free from gossip. One of 
our visits was paid to the family of one of the oldest 
settlers in Canada. His place was the very perfection of 
beauty ; it was built in a park formed out of a civilised 
wood, the grounds extending to the verge of a precipice, 
looking from which I saw the river, sometimes glittering 
in the sunshine, sometimes foaming along in a wood — 
just realising Mrs. Moodie's charming description of the 
Otonabee. Far below, the water glittered like diamond 
sparks aipong the dark woods ; pines had fallen into and 
across it, in the way in which trees only fall in America, 
and no two trees were of the same tint ; the wild vine 
hung over the precipice, and smothered the trees with its 
clusters and tendrils ; and hurriedly in some places, 
gently in others, the cold rivulet flowed down to the lake, 
— no bold speculator having as yet dared to turn the 
water privilege to account. 

210 AN AMUSING EIDE. Chap. X. 

My first ride was an amusing one, for various reasons. 
My riding-habit was left at Toronto, but this seemed not 
to be a difficulty. Mrs. Forrest's fashionable habit and 
white gauntlet-gloves fitted me beautifully ; and the diffi- 
culty about a hat was at once overcome by sending to an 
obliging neighbour, who politely sent a very stylish-looking 
plumed riding-hat. There was a side-saddle and a most 
elegant bridle ; indeed, the whole equipment would not 
have disgraced Rotten Row. But, the horse ] My cou- 
rage had to be " screwed to the sticking point " before I 
could mount him. He was a very fine animal — ^a mag- 
nificent coal-black charger sixteen hands high, with a 
most determined will of his own, not broken for the saddle. 
Mr. Forrest rode a splendid bay, which seldom went over 
six consecutive yards of ground without performing some 
erratic movement My horse's paces were, a tremendous 
trot, breaking sometimes into a furious gallop, in both 
which he acted in a perfectly independent manner, any 
attempts of mine to control him with my whole strength 
and weight being alike useless. We came to the top of 
a precipice overlooking the river, where his gyrations 
were so fearful that I turned him into the bush. It ap- 
peared to me a ride of imminent dangers and hair-breadth 
escapes. By this beauteous river we came to a place 
where rain and flood had worn the precipice into a steep 
declivity, shelving towards another precipice, and my 
horse, accustomed to it, took me down where an English 
donkey would scarcely have ventured. Beauty might be 
written upon everything in this dell. I never saw a fairer 
compound of rock, wood, and water. Above was flat and 
comparatively uninteresting country; then these preci- 

Chap. X. AN AMUSING EIDE. 211 

pices, with trees growing out wherever they could find a 
footing, arrayed in all the gorgeous colouring of the Ame- 
rican fall. At the foot of these was a narrow, bright- 
green savannah, with fine trees growing upon it, as though 
planted by some one anxious to produce a park-like effect 
Above this, the dell contracted to the width of Dovedale, 
and through it all, the river, sometimes a foaming, brawl- 
ing stream, at others fringed with flowers, and quiescent 
in deep, clear pools, pours down to the lake. After gal- 
loping upon this savannah we plunged into the river, 
and, after our horses had broken through a plank-bridge 
at the great risk of their legs, we rode for many miles 
through bush and clearing, down sandy tracks and 
scratching thickets, to the pebbly beach of Lake Ontario. 

The contrast between the horses and their equipments, 
and the country we rode through, was somewhat singular. 
The former were suitable for Hyde Park ; the latter was 
mere bush-riding — climbing down precipices, fording 
rapid rivers, scrambling through fences and over timber, 
floundering in mud, going through the bush with hands 
before us to push the branches from our faces, and, finally, 
watering our horses in the blue, deep waters of Lake 
Ontario — yet I never enjoyed a ride along the green 
lanes of England so much as this one in the wild scenery 
of Canada. 

The Sundays that I spent at Mr. Forrest's were very 
enjoyable, though the heat of the first was nearly insup- 
portable, and the cold of the last like that of an English 
Christmas in bygone years. There are multitudes of 
Presbyterians in Western Canada, who worship in their 
pure and simple faith with as much fervency and sincerity 

212 SCOTCH PATEI0TI8M. Chap. X. 

as did their coyenanting forefathers in the days of the 
persecuting Dundee ; and the quaint old Psalms, to which 
they are so much attached, sung to the strange old tunes, 
sound to them as sweet among the backwoods of Canada 
as in the peaceful villages of the Lowlands, or in the 
remote Highland glens, where I have often listened to 
their slow and plaintive strains borne upon the mountain 
breezes. ** Are ye frae the braes of Gleneffar ?" said an 
old Scotchwoman to me ; " were ye at our kirk o* Sab- 
bath last, ye would na' ken the difference/' 

The Irishman declaims against the land he has for- 
saken — ^the Englishman too often suffers the remembrance 
of his poverty to sever the tie which binds him to the land 
of his birth — but where shall we find the Scotchman in 
whose breast love of his country is not a prominent feel- 
ing? Whether it be the light-haired Saxon from the 
South, or the dark-haired, sallow-visaged Celt from the 
Highlands, driven forth by the gaunt hand of famine, all 
look back to Scotland as to " their country " — the mention 
of its name kindles animation in the dim eye of age, and 
ciCuses the bounding heart of youth to leap with enthu- 
siasm. It may be that the Scotch emigrant's only remem- 
brance is of the cold hut on the lone hill-side, where 
years wore away in poverty and hunger, but to him it 
is the dearest spot of earth. It may be that he has 
attained a competence in Canada, and that its fertile 
soil produces crops which the heathery braes of Scotland 
would never yield — no matter, it is yet his home 1 — ^it is 
the land where his fathers sleep — it is the land of his 
birth ; his dreams are of the " mountain and the flood " — 
of lonely lochs and mountain-girded firths ; and when the 

Chap. X. AN ENGLISH CHimCH. 213 

purple light on a summer evening streams oyer the 
forest, he fancies that the same beams are falling on 
Morven and the CuchuUins, and that the soft sound per- 
vading the air is the echo of the shepherd's pipe. To the 
latest hour of his life he cherishes the idea of returning 
to some homestead by a tumbling bumie. He never can 
bring himself to utter to his mountain land, from the 
depths of his heart, the melancholy words, *^ Che til na 

The Episcopal church was only two miles from us, 
but we were most mercilessly jolted over a plank-road, 
where many of the planks had made a descent into a sea 
of mud, on the depth of which I did not attempt to spe- 
culate. Even in beautiful England I never saw a prettier 
sight than the assembling of the congregation. The 
church is built upon a very steep little knoll, the base 
of which is nearly encircled by a river. Close to it is a 
long shed, in which the horses are tethered during 8er•^ 
vice, and little belligerent sounds, such as screaming and 
kicking, occasionally find their way into church. The 
building is light and pretty inside, very simple, but in 
excellent taste ; and though there is no organ, the singing 
and chanting, conducted by the younger portion of the 
congregation, is on a par with some of the best in our 
town churches at home. There were no persons poorly 
clad, and all looked happy, sturdy, and independent. 
The bright scarlet leaves of the oak and maple pressed 
against the windows, giving them in the sunlight some- 
thing of the appearance of stained glass ; the rippling of 

* " We return no more. 



the river was heard below, and round us, far, far away, 
stretched the forest Here, where the great Manitou 
was once worshipped, a purer faith now reigns, and 
the allegiance of the people is more firmly established 
by " the sound of the church-going bells " than by the 
bayonets of our^ troops. These heaven-pointing spires 
are links between Canada and England; they remind 
the emigrant of the ivy-mantled church in which he was 
first taught to bend his knees to his Creator, and of the 
hallowed dust around its Walls, where the sacred ashes of 
his fathers sleep. 

There is great attachment to England among those 
who are protected by her laws, and live under the shadow 
of her standard of freedom. In many instances, no re- 
membrances of wrongs received, of injuries sustained, of 
hopeless poverty and ill-requited toil, can sever that 
holiest, most sacred of ties, which binds, until his latest 
breath, the heart of the exile to his native land. 

The great annoyance of which people complain in this 
pleasant land is the difficulty of obtaining domestic ser- 
vants, and the extraordinary specimens of humanity who 
go out in this capacity. It is difficult to obtain any, and 
those that are procured are solely Irish Roman Catholics, 
who think it a great hardship to wear shoes, and speak of 
their master as the " hoss^ At one house where I visited, 
the servant or " help," .after condescending to bring in the 
dinner, took a book firom the chiffonier^ and sat down on 
the sofa to read it. On being remonstrated with for her 
conduct, she replied that she " would not remain an hour 
in a house where those she helped had an objection ^ to a 
young lady's improving her mind 1" At an hotel at To- 

Chap.X. visit to TORONTO. 215 

ronto, one chambermaid, pointing to another, said, *^ That 
yaunff lady will show you your room." I left Mr. For- 
rest's even for three days with great regret, and after 
a nine miles drive on a very wet morning, and a water 
transit of two hours, found myself at Toronto, where as 
usual on the wharf I was greeted by the clamorous de- 
mand for *' wharfage." I found the Walrences and 
other agreeable acquaintances at Russell's hotel, but was 
surprised with what I thought rather a want of discrimi- 
nation on the part of all ; I was showing a valuable 
collection of autographs, beginning with Cromwell, and 
containing, in addition to those of several deceased and 
living royal personages, valuable letters of Scott, Byron, 
Wellington, Russell, Palmerston, Wilberforce, Dickens, 
&c. The shades of kings, statesmen, and poets, might 
almost have been incited to appear, when the signature 
of Richard Cobden was preferred before all. 



" I've seen nothing" — A disappointment — Incongruities— Hotel 
gaieties and " doing Niagara " — Irish drosky-drivers — " The Hell 
of Waters " — Beauties of Niagara — The picnic party — The White 
Canoe — ^A cold shower-bath — " The Thunder of Waters" — ^A magic 
word— "The Whirlpool " — Story of "Bloody Run"— Yankee opi- 
nions of English ladies — A metamorphosis — The nigger guide — A 
terrible situation — Termination Rock — Impressions of Niagara — 
Juvenile precocity — A midnight journey — Street adventures in 

" Have you seen the Falls ?"— " No." " Then you 've 
seen nothing of America." I might have seen Trenton 
Fallsy Gennessee Falls, the Falls of Montmorenci and 
Lorette ; but I had seen nothing if I had not seen the 
Falls {par excellence) of Niagara. There were divers 
reasons why my friends in the States were anxious that 
I should see Niagara. One was, as I was frequently 
told, that all I had seen, even to the " Prayer Eyes^^ 
would go for nothing on my return; for in England, 
America was supposed to be a vast tract of country con- 
taining one town — New York ; and one astonishing na- 
tural phenomenon, called Niagara. "See New York, 
Quebec, and Niagara," was the direction I "received 
when I started upon my travels. I never could make 
out how, but somehow or other, from my earliest in- 
fancy, I had been familiar with the name of Niagara, 
and, from the numerous pictures I had seen of it, I could, 
I suppose, have sketched a very accurate likeness of the 


Horse-shoe Fall. Since I landed at Portland, I had 
continually met with people who went into ecstatic rap- 
tures with Niagara ; and after passing within sight of its 
spray, and within hearing of its roar — after seeing it the 
great centre of attraction to all persons of every class — 
ray desire to see it for myself became absorbing. Nu- 
merous difficulties had arisen, and at one time I had 
reluctantly given up all hope of seeing it, when Mr. 
and Mrs. Walrence kindly said, that, if I would go 
with them, they would return to the east by way of 

Between the anticipation of this event, and the din 
of the rejoicings for the "capture of Sebastopol," I 
slept very little. on the night before leaving Toronto, and 
was by no means sorry when the cold grey of dawn 
quenched the light of tar-barrels and gas-lamps. I 
crossed Lake Ontario in the iron steamer Peerless ; the 
lake was rough as usual, and, after a promenade of two 
hours on the spray-drenched deck, I retired to the cabin, 
and spent some time in dreamily wondering whether 
Niagara itself would compensate for the discomforts of 

the journey thither. Captain D gravely informed 

me that there were " a good many cases" below, and I 
never saw people so deplorably sea-sick as in this steamer. 
An Indian officer who had crossed the Line seventeen times 
was sea-sick for the first time on Lake Ontario. The 
short, cross, chopping seas affect most people. The only 
persons in the saloon who were not discomposed by them 
were two tall school-girls, who seemed to have innumer- 
able whispered confidences and secrets to confide to each 


We touched the wharf at Niagara, a town on the Britifih 
ride of the Niagara river—" cars for Buffalo, all aboard," 
— ^and just crosring a platform, we entered th^ Canada 
cars, and on the top of some fiightful precipices, and 
round some terrific curves, we were whirled to the Clifton 
House at Niagara. I left the cars, and walked down 
the slope to the verge of the cliff; I forgot my fiiends, 
who had called me to the hotel to lunch — I forgot every- 
thing — for I was looking at the Falls of Niagara. 

" No more than thia} — what seeni'd it now 

By that far flood to stand ? 
A thousand streams of lovelier flow 

Bathe my own mountain land. 
And thence o*er waste and ocean track 
Their wild sweet voices call'd me back. 

They call'd me back to many a glade. 

My childhood's haunt of play. 
Where brightly 'mid the birchen shade 

Their waters glanced away : 
They call'd me with their thousand waves 
Back to my fathers* hills and graves." 

The feelings which Mrs. Hemans had attributed to 
Bruce at the source of the Nile, were mine as I took my 
first view of Niagara. The Horse-shoe Fall at some 
distance to my right was partially hidden, but directly in 
front of me were the American and Crescent Falls. The 
former is perfectly straight, and looked like a gigantic 
raill-weir. This resemblance is further heightened by an 
enormous wooden many-windowed fabric, said to be the 
largest paper-mill in the United States. A whole collec- 
tion of mills disfigures this romantic spot, which has 
received the came of Manchester, and bids fair to become 
a thriving manufacturing town! Even on the British 


side, where one would have hoped for a hetter state of 
things, there is a great fungus growth of museums, 
curiosity-shops, taverns, and pagodas with shining tin 
cupolas. Not far from where I stood, the members of 
a picnic party were flirting and laughing hilariously, 
throwing chicken-bones and peach-stones over the cliff, 
drinking champagne and soda-water. Just as I had 
succeeded in attaining the proper degree of mental ab- 
straction with which it is necessary to contemplate Nia- 
gara, a ragged drosky-driver came up, "Yer honour, 
may be ye 're in want of a carriage? I'll take ye the 
whole round — Goat Island, Whirlpool, and Deil's Hole — 
for the matter of four dollars.*' Niagara made a matter 
of " a round," dollars, and cents, was too much for my 
equanimity ; and in the hope of losing my feelings of dis- 
appointment, I went into the Clifton House, enduring 
a whole volley of requests from the half-tipsy drosky- 
drivers who thronged the doorway. 

This celebrated hotel, which is kept on the American 
plan, is a huge white block of building, with three green 
verandahs round it, and can accommodate about four 
hundred people. In the summer season it is the abode 
of almost unparalleled gaiety. Here congregate tourists, 
merchants, lawyers, officers, senatore, wealthy southerners, 
and sallow down-easters, all flying alike from business 
and heat. Here meet all ranks, those of the highest cha- 
racter, and those who have no character to lose ; those 
who by some fortunate accident have become possessed of 
a few dollars, and those whose mine of wealth lies in the 
gambling-house — all for the time being on terms of per- 
fect equality. Balls, in doors and out of doors, nightly 

L 2 

220 " DOING NIAGARA." Chap. XI. 

succeed to parties and picnics ; the most novel of which 
are those in the beautiful garden in front of the hotel. 
This garden has spacious lawns lighted by lamps ; and 
here, as in the ' Midsummer Night's Dream,' the visitors 
dance on summer evenings to the strains of invisible 
music. But at the time of my second visit to the Falls 
all the gaiety was over ; the men of business had returned 
to the cities, the southerners had fled to their sunny 
homes — part of the house was shut up, and in the great 
dining-room, with tables for three hundred, we sat down 
to lunch with about twenty-five persons, most of them 
Americans and Germans of the most repulsive descrip- 
tion. After this meal, eaten in the "five minutes all 
aboard" style, we started on a ^ight-seeing expedition. 
Instead of being allowed t() sit quietly on Table Rock, 
gazing upon the cataract, the visitor, yielding to the de- 
mands of a supposed necessity, is dragged a weary 
round — he must see the Falls from the front, from above, 
and from below ; he must go beliind them, and be 
drenched by them ; he must descend spiral staircases at 
the risk of his limbs, and cross ferries at that of his life ; 
he must visit Bloody Run, the Burning Springs, and 
Indian curiosity-shops, which have nothing to do with 
them at all; and when the poor wretch is thoroughly 
bewildered and wearied by "doing Niagara," he is 
allowed to steal quietly oflT to what he really came to 
see — the mighty Horse-shoe Fall, with all its accompani- 
ments of majesty, sublimity, and terror. 

Round the door of the Cliftou House were about twenty 
ragged, vociferous drosky-drivers, of most demoralised 
appearance, all clamorous for "a fare." "We want to 


go to Goat Island ; how much is it ?" " Five dollars.'* 
"Til take you for four dollars and a half." "No, sir, 
lie's a cheat and a blackguard ; FU take you for four." 
" Fll take you as cheap as any one," shouts a man in rags ; 
" I'll take you for three." " Very well." " Fll take you 
as cheap as he ; he's drunk, and his carriage isn't fit for a 
lady to step into," shouted the man who at first asked five 
dollars. After this they commenced a regular mdiej when 
blows were given and received, and frequent allusions were 
made to " the bones of St; Patrick;" At last our friend 
in rags succeeded in driving up to the door, and we found 
his carriage really unfit for ladies, as the stuflSng in most 
places was quite bare, and the ste{) and splash-boards 
were only kept in their places by pieces of rope. The 
shouting and squabbling were accompanied by Niagara, 
whose deep awful thundering bass drowns all other 

We drove for two miles along the precipice bank of the 
Niagara river : this precipice is 250 feet high, without a 
parapet, and the green, deep flood rages below. At the 
Suspension Bridge they demanded a toll of sixty cents, 
and contemptuously refused two five-dollar notes offered 
them by Mr. Walrence, saying they were only waste 
paper. This extraordinary bridge, over which a train of 
cars weighing 440 tons has recently passed, has a span 
of 800 feet, and a double roadway, the upper one 
being used by the railway. The floor of the bridge is 
230 feet above the river, and the depth of the river 
immediately under it is 250 feet ! The view from it is 
magnificent ; to the left the furious river, confined in a 
narrow space, rushes in rapids to the Whirlpool ; and 


to the right the Horse-shoe Fall pours its torrent of 
waters into the dark and ever invisible abyss. When 
we reached the American side we had to declare to 
a custom-house oflScer that we were no smugglers; 
and then by an awful road, partly covered with stumps, 
and partly full of holes, over the one, and through the 
other, our half-tipsy driver jolted us, till we wished our- 
selves a thousand miles from Niagara Falls. "There 
now, faith, and wasn't I nearly done for myself?" he 
exclaimed, as a jolt threw him from his seat, nearly over 
the dash-board. 

We passed through the town bearing the names of 
Niagara Falls and Manchester, an agglomeration of tea- 
gardens, curiosity-shops, and monster hotels, with domes 
of shining tin. We drove down a steep hill, and crossed 
a very insecure-looking wooden bridge to a small wooded 
island, where a man with a strong nasal twang demanded 
a toll of twenty-five cents, and anon we crossed a long 
bridge over the lesser rapids. 

The cloudy morning had given place to a glorious day, 
abounding in varieties of light and shade ; a slight shower 
had fallen, and the sparkling rain-drops hung from every 
leaf and twig ; a rainbow spanned the Niagara river, and 
the leaves wore the glorious scarlet aud crimson tints of 
the American autumn. Sun and sky were propitious ; it 
was the season and the day in which to see Niagara. 
Quarrelsome drosky drivers, incongruous mills, and the 
thousand trumperies of the place, were all forgotten in 
the perfect beauty of the scene — in the full, the joyous 
realisation of my ideas of Niagara. Beauty and terror 
here formed a perfect combination. Around islets covered 


with fair foliage of trees and vines, and carpeted with 
moss untrodden by the foot of man, the waters, in wild 
turmoil, rage and foam : rushing on recklessly beneath 
the trembling bridge on which we stood to their doomed 
fall. This place is called " The Hell of Waters," and 
has been the scene of more than one terrible tragedy. 

This bridge took us to Iris Island, so named from the 
rainbows which perpetually hover round its base. Every- 
thing of terrestrial beauty may be found in Iris Island. 
It stands amid the eternal din of the waters, a barrier 
between the Canadian and American Falls. It is not 
more than sixty-two acres in extent, yet it has groves of 
huge forest trees, and secluded roads underneath them in 
, the deepest shade, far apparently from the busy world-, 
yet thousands from every part of the globe yearly tread 
its walks of beauty. We stopped at the top of a dizzy 
pathway, and, leaving the AVahences to purchase some 
curiosities^ I descended it, crossed a trembling foot- 
bridge, and stood alone on Luna Island, between the 
Crescent and American Falls. This beauteous and richly- 
embowered little spot, which is said to tremble, and looks 
as if any wave might sweep it awayj has a view of match- 
less magnificence. From it can be seen the whole expanse 
of the American rapids, rolling and struggling down, 
chafing the sunny islets, as if jealous of their beauty. 
The Canadian Fall was on my left; away in front 
stretched the scarlet woods ; the incongruities of the place 
were out of sight ; and at my feet the broad sheet of the 
American Fall tumbled down in terrible majesty. The 
violence of the rapids cannot be imagined by one who has 
not seen their resistless force. The turbulent waters are 

224 A TRAGIC STORY. Chap. XI. 

flung upwards, as if infuriated against the sky. The 
rocks, whose jagged points are seen among them, fling off^ 
the hurried and foamy waves, as if with supernatural 
strength. Nearer and nearer they come to the Fall, be- 
coming every instant more agitated ; they seem to recoil 
as they approach its verge ; a momentary calm follows, 
and then, like all their predecessors, they go down the 
abyss together. There is something very exciting in this 
view; one cannot help investing Niagara with feelings of 
human agony and apprehension ; one feels a new sensation, 
something neither terror, wonder, nor admiration, as one 
looks at the phenomena which it displays. I have been 
surprised to see how a visit to the Falls galvanises the 
most matter-of-fact person into a brief exercise of the ^ 
imaginative powers. 

As the sound of the muffled drum too often accom- 
panies the trumpet, so the beauty of Luna Island must 
ever remain associated in my mind with a terrible catas- 
trophe which recently occurred there. Niagara was at its 
gayest, and the summer at its hottest, when a joyous 
party went to spend the day on Luna Island. It consisted 
of a Mr. and Mrs. De Forest, their beautiful child 
"Nettie," a young man of great talent and promise, 
Mr. Addington, and a few other persons. It was a fair 
evening in June, when moonlight was struggling for 
ascendancy with the declining beams of the setting sun. 
The elders of the party, being tired, repaired to the seats 
on Iris Island to rest, Mr. De Forest calling to Nettie, 
" Come here, my child ; don't go near the water." " Never 
mind — let her alone — 111 watch her," said Mr. Addington, 
for the child was very beautiful and a great favourite, 


and the youthful members of the party started for Luna 
Island. Nettie pulled Addington's coat in her glee. 
" Ah 1 you rogue, you're caught," said hie, catching hold 
of her; "shall I throw you in?" She sprang forward 
from his arms, one step too far, and fell into the roaring 
rapid. " Oh, mercy ! save — she's gone !" the young man 
cried, adfi sprang into the water. He caught hold of 
Nettie, and, by one or two vigorous strokes, aided by an 
eddy, was brought close to the Island ; one instant more, 
and his terrified companions would have been able to lay 
hold of him ; but no — the hour of both was come ; the 
waves of the rapid hurried them past ; one piercing cry 
came from Mr. Addington's lips, " For Jesus' sake, O save 
our souls !" and, locked in each other's arms, botli were 
carried over the fatal Falls. The dashing torrent rolled 
onward, unheeding that bitter despairing cry of human 
agony, and the bodies of these two, hurried into eternity in 
the bloom of youth, were not found for some days. Mrs. 
De Forest did not long survive the fate of her child. 

The guide related to me another story in which my 
readers' may be interested, as it is one of the poetical 
legends of the Indians. It took place in years now long 
gone by, when the Indians worshipped the Great Spirit 
where they beheld such a manifestation of his power. 
Here, where the presence of Deity made the forest ring, 
and the ground tremble, the Indians offered a living 
sacrifice once a year, to be conveyed by the water spirit 
to the unknown gulf. Annually, in the month of 
August, the sachem gave the word, and fruits and flowers 
were stowed in a white canoe, to be paddled by the fairest 
maiden among the tribes. 

L 3 


The tribe thought iteelf highly honoured when its turn 
came to float the blooming offering to the shnne of the 
Great Spirit, and still more honoured was the maid who 

-^XSr;:^- chief of the Senecas had a. ^r 
child named Lena. This chief was a noted and dreaded 
warrior ; over many a bloody fight his single ea#e plume 
had waved, and ever in battle he left the red track of ba 
hatehet and tomahawk. Yea« rolled by, and every one 
sent its summer offering to the thmider god of the 
then unexplored Niagara. Oronto danced at many a 
feast which followed the sacrificial gift, jhf ^ "^e 
had rejoicingly given in their turn. He felt not for 
the fathers whose children were thus taken from their 
wigwams, and committed to the grave of the roanng 
waters. Calma, his wife, had fallen by a foemaas 
arrow, and in the blood of his enemies he had terribly 
avenged bis bereavement. Fifteen years had passed since 
then and the infant which Calma left had matured into a 
beautiful maiden. The day of sacrifice came ; it was the 
year of the Senecas, and Lena was acknowledged to 
be the fairest maiden of the tribe. The moonlit hour 
has come, the rejoicing dance goes on; Oronto has, 
without a tear, parted from his child, to meet her m 
the happy hunting-grounds where the Great Spirit 
reicns. The yell of triumph rises from the assembled 
Indians. The white canoe, loosed by the sachems, 
has shot from the bank, but ere it has sped from the 
shore another dancing craft has gone forth upon the 
whirling water, and both have set out on a voyage to 


The first bears the oflTering^ Lena, seated amidst fruits 
and flowers ; the second contains Oronto, the proud chief 
of the Senecas. Both seem to pause on the verge of the 
descent, then together rise on the whirling rapids. One 
mingled look of apprehension and affection is exchailged, 
and, while the woods ring with the yells of the savages, 
Oronto and Lena plunge into the abyss in their white 

This wild legend was told me by the guide in full 
view of the cataract, and seemed so real and life-like that 
I was somewhat startled by being accosted thu^ by a 
voice speaking in a sharp nasal down-east twang : " Well, 
stranger, I guess that's the finest water-power you've 
ever set eyes on." My thoughts were likewise recalled 
to the fact that it was necessary to put on an oilskin dress, 
and scramble down a very dilapidated staircase to the 
Cave of the Winds, in order to "do" Niagara in the 
"regulation manner." This cave is partly behind the 
American Fall, and is the abode of howling winds and 
ceaseless eddies of spray. It is an extremely good 
shower-bath, but the day was rather too cold to make 
that luxury enjoyable. I went down another steep path, 
and, after crossing a shaky foot-bridge over part of the 
Grand Rapids, ascended Prospect Tower, a stone erection 
45 feet high, built on the very verge of the Horse-shoe 
Fall. It is said that people feel involuntary suicidal 
intentions while standing on the balcony round this tower. 
I did not experience them myself, possibly because my 

* I have given both these anecdotes, as nearly as possible, in the 
bombastic language in which they were related to me by the guide. 


only companion was the half-tipsy Irish drosky-driver. 
The view from this tower is awful : the edifice has been 
twice swept away, and probably no strength of masonry 
could permanently endure the wear of the rushing water 
at its base. 

Down come those beauteous billows, as if eager for 
their terrible leap. Along the ledge over which they 
fall they are still for one moment in a sheet of clear, 
brilliant green ; another, and down they fall like cataracts 
of driven snow, chasing each other, till, roaring and hiss- 
ing, they reach the abyss, sending up a column of spray 
100 feet in height. No existing words can describe it, 
no painter can give the remotest idea of it ; it is the voice 
of the Great Creator, its name signifying, in the beau- 
tiful language of the Iroquois, " The Thunder of Waters." 
Looking from this tower, above you see the Grand 
Rapids, one dizzy sheet of leaping foamy billows, and 
below you look, if you can, into the very caldron itself, 
and see how the bright-green waves are lost in foam and 
mist ; and behind you look to shore, and shudder to think 
how the frail bridge by which you came in another mo- 
ment may be washed away. I felt as I came down the 
trembling staircase that one wish of my life had been 
gratified in seeing Niagara. 

Some graves were recently discovered in Iris Island, 
with skeletons in a sitting posture inside them, probably 
the remains of those aboriginal races who here in their 
ignorance worshipped the Great Spirit, within the sound 
of his almighty voice. We paused on the bridge, and 
looked once more at the islets in the rapids, and stopped 
on Bath Island, lovely in itself, but desecrated by the 


presence of a remarkably hirsute American, who keeps a 
toll-house, with the words "Ice-creams" and "Indian 
Curiosities" painted in large letters upon it. Again 
another bridge, by which we crossed to the main land ; and 
while overwhelmed at once by the beauty and the sublimity 
of the scene, all at once the idea struck me that the 
Yankee who called Niagara " an almighty fine water pri- 
vilege" was tolerably correct in his definition, for the 
water is led ofl^ in several directions for the use of large 
saw and paper mills. 

We made several purchases at an Indian curiosity- 
shop, where we paid for the articles about six times their 
value, and meanwhile our driver took the opportunity of 
getting " suramat warm," which very nearly resulted in 
our getting something coldy for twice, in driving over a 
stump, he all but upset us into ponds. Crossing the 
suspension-bridge we arrived at the V. R, custom-house, 
where a tiresome detention usually occurs ; but a few 
words spoken in Gaelic to the Scotch officer produced 
a magical effect, which might have been the same 
had we possessed anything contraband. A drive of 
three miles brought us to the whirlpool. The giant 
cliffs, which rise to the height of nearly 300 feet, wall in 
the waters and confine their impetuous rush, so that their 
force raises them in the middle, and hurls them up some 
feet in the air. Their fury is resistless, and the bodies of 
those who are carried over the falls are whirled round 
here in a horrible dance, frequently till decomposition 
takes place. There is nothing to excite admiration about 
the whirlpool ; the impression which it leaves on the mind 
is highly unpleasing. 

230 BLOODY RUN. Chap. XI. 

Another disagreeable necessity was to visit a dark, deqi 
chasm in the bank, a very gloomy spot This demoor 
titled cavity has never felt the influence of a ray of light 
A massive cliff rises above it, and a narrow stream, bear- 
ing the horrible name of Bloody Run, pours over this 
diff into the chasm. To most minds there is a strange 
fascination about the terrible and mysterious, and, in 
spite of warning looks and beseeching gestures on the 
part of Mr. Walrence, who feared the effect of the story 
on the weak nerves of his wife, I sat down by the chasm 
and asked the origin of the name Bloody Run. I will 
confess that, as I looked down into the yawning hole, 
imagination lent an added horror to the tale, which was 
bad enough in itself. 

In 1759, while the French, who had in their pay the 
Seneca Indians, hovered round the British, a large supply 
of provisions was forwarded from Fort Niagara to Fort 
Schlosser by the latter, under the escort of a hundred 
regulars. The savage chief of the Senecas, anxious to 
obtain the promised reward for scalps, formed an ambus- 
cade of chosen warriors, several hundred in number. The 
Devil's Hole was the spot chosen — ^it seemed made on 
purpose for the bloody project. It was a hot, sultry day 
in August, and the British, scattered and sauntered on 
their toilsome way, till, overcome by fatigue or curiosity, 
they sat down near the margin of the precipice. A 
fearful yell arose, accompanied by a volley of bullets, 
and the Indians, breaking from their cover, under the 
combined influences of ferocity and "fire-water,". rushed 
upon their unhappy victims before they had time to stand 
to their arms, and tomahawked them on the spot. Wag« 


gOQS, horses, soldiers, and drivers were then hurled over 
1^ precipice, and the little stream ran into the Niagara 
river a torrent purple with human gore. Only two 
escaped to tell the terrible tale. Some years ago, 
bones, arms, and broken wheels were found among 
the rocks, mementos of the barbarity which has given 
the little streamlet the terror-inspiring name of Bloody 

After depositing our purchases at the Clifton House, 
where the waiter warned us to put them under lock and 
key, I hoped that sight-seeing was over, and that at last 
I should be able to gaze upon what I had really come to 
visit — the Falls of Niagara. But no ; I was to be vic- 
timised still further ; I must ** go behind the great sheet." 
Mr. and Mrs. Walrence would not go; they said their 
beads would not stand it, but that, as an Englishwoman, 
go I must. In America the capabilities of English ladies 
are very much overrated. It is supposed that they go 
out in all weathers, invariably walk ten miles a day> and 
leap five-barred fences on horseback. Yielding to " the 
inexorable law of a stern necessity," I went to the Rock 
House, and a very pleasing girl produced a suit of oiled 
calico. I took oflF my cloak, bonnet, and dress. " Oh," 
she said, " you must change everything, it ^s so very wet^ 
As, to save time, I kept demurring to taking off various 
articles of apparel, I always received the same reply, and 
finally abandoned myself to a complete change of attire. 
I looked in the mirror, and beheld as complete a tatter- 
demallion as one could see begging upon an Irish high- 
way, though there was nothing about the dress which the 
most lively imagination could have tortured into the 


picturesque. The externals of this strange equipment 
consisted of an oiled calico hood, a garment like a 
carter's frock, a pair of blue worsted stockings, and a 
pair of India-rubber shoes much too large for me. My 
appearance was so comic as to excite the laughter 
of my grave friends, and I had to reflect that numbers of 
persons had gone out in the same attire before I could 
• make up my mind to run the gauntlet of the loiterers 
round the door. Here a negro guide of most repulsive 
appearance awaited me, and I waded through a perfect 
sea of mud to the shaft by which people go under Table 
Rock. My friends were evidently ashamed of my appear- 
ance, but they met me here to wish me a safe return, and, 
following the guide, I dived down a spiral staircase, very 
dark and very much out of repair. 

Leaving this staircase, I followed the guide along a 
narrow path covered with fragments of shale, with Table 
Rock above and the deep abyss below. A cold, damp 
wind blew against me, succeeded by a sharp pelting rain, 
and the path became more slippery and diflScult. Still I 
was not near the sheet of water, and felt not the slightest 
dizziness. I speedily arrived at the diflScult point of my 
progress : heavy gusts almost blew me away ; showers of 
spray nearly blinded me ; I was quite deafened and half- 
drowned ; I wished to retreat, and essayed to use my 
voice to stop the progress of my guide. I raised it to a 
scream, but it was lost in the thunder of the cataract. 
The negro saw my incertitude and extended his hand. I 
shuddered even there as I took hold of it, not quite free 
from the juvenile idea that " the black comes ofil" He 


seemed at that moment to wear the aspect of a black imp 
leading me to destruction. 

The path is a narrow, slippery ledge of rock. I am 
blinded with spray, the darkening sheet of water is before 
me. Shall I go on ? The spray beats against my face, 
driven by the contending gusts of wind which rush into 
the eyes, nostrils, and mouth, and almost prevent my 
progress ; the narrowing ledge is not more than a foot 
wide, and the boiling gulf is seventy feet below. Yet 
thousands have pursued this way before, so why should 
not I ? I grasp tighter hold of the guide's hand, and pro- 
ceed step by step holding down my head. The water 
beats against me, the path narrows, and will only hold my 
two feet abreast. I ask the guide to stop, but my voice 
is drowned by the " Thunder of Waters." He guesses 
what I would say, and shrieks in my ear, ^^ It's worse 
going back^ I make a desperate attempt : four steps 
more and I am at the end of the ledge ; my breath is 
taken away, and I can only just stand against the gusts 
of wind which are driving the water against me. The 
gulf is but a few inches from me, and, gasping for breath, 
and drenched to the skin, I become conscious that I have 
reached Termination Rock, 

Once arrived at this place, the clouds of driving spray 
are a little thinner, and, though it is still very difficult 
either to see or breathe, the magnificence of the temple, 
which is here formed by the natural bend of the cataract 
and the backward shelve of the precipice, makes a lasting 
impression on the mind. The temple seems a fit and 
awful shrine for Him who " rides on the wings of mighty 
winds," and, completely shut out from man's puny works, 


the mind rises naturally in adoring contemplation to Him 
whose voice is heard in the " thunder of waters." The 
path was so very narrow that I had to shuffle backwards 
for a few feet, and then, drenched, shivering, and breath- 
less, my goloshes full of water and slipping off at every 
step, I fought my way through the blinding clouds of 
spray, and, climbing up the darkened staircase, again 
stood on Table Rock, with water dripping from my hair 
and garments. It is usual for those persons who 
survive the expedition to take hot brandy and water 
after changing their dresses ; and it was probably from 
neglecting this precaution that I took such a severe 
chill as afterwards produced the ague. On the whole, 
this achievement is pleasanter in the remembrance than 
in the act. There is nothing whatever to boast of in 
having accomplished it, and nothing to regret in 
leaving it undone. I knew the danger and disagreeable- 
ness of the exploit before I went, and, had I known 
that " going behind the sheet " was synonymous with 
" going to Termination Rock," I should never have gone. 
No person who has not a very strong head ought to 
go at all, and it is by every one far better omitted, as 
the remaining portion of Table Rock may fall at any 
moment, for which reason some of the most respectable 
guides decline to take visitors underneath it. I believe 
that no amateur ever thinks of going a second time. 
After all, the front view is the only one for Niagara — 
going behind the sheet is like going behind a picture- 

After this we went to the top of a tower, where I had a 
very good bird's-eye view of the Falls, the Rapids, and the 


general aspect of the country, and then, refusing to be 
victimised by burning springs, museums, prisoned eagles, 
and mangy buffaloes, I left the Walrences, who were 
tired, to go to the hotel, and walked down to the ferry, 
and, scrambling out to the rock farthest in the water and 
nearest to the cataract, I sat down completely undis- 
turbed in view of the mighty fall. I was not distracted 
by parasitic guides or sandwich-eating visitors ; the vile 
museums, pagodas, and tea-gardens were out of sight : 
the sublimity of the Falls far exceeded my expectations, 
and I appreciated them the more perhaps from having 
been disappointed with the first view. As I sat watching 
them, a complete oblivion of everything but the falls 
themselves stole over me. A person may be very learned 
in statistics — he may tell you that the falls are 160 feet 
high — that their whole width is nearly four-fifths of a 
mile — that, according to estimate, ninety million tons of 
water pass over them every hour — that they are the outlet 
of several bodies of water covering one hundred and fifty 
thousand square miles ; but unless he has seen Niagara, 
he cannot form the faintest conception of it. It was so 
very like what I had expected, and yet so totally different. 
I sat there watching that sea-green curve against the 
sky till sunset, and then the crimson rays just fell upon 
the column of spray above the Canadian Fall, turning it 
a most beautiful rose-colour. The sun set; a young 
moon arose, and brilliant stars shone through the light 
veil of mist, and in the darkness the cataract looked like 
drifted snow. T rose at length, perfectly unconscious that 
I had been watching the Falls for nearly four hours, and 
that my clothes were saturated with the damp and mist. 


It would be out of place to enter upon the numerous 
geological speculations which have arisen upon the struc- 
ture and recession of Niagara. It seems as if the faint 
light which science has shed upon the abyss of bygone 
ages were but to show that its depths must remain for 
ever unlighted by human reason and research. 

There was such an air of gloom about the Clifton 
House that we sat in the balcony till the cold became 
intense ; and as it was too dark to see anything but a 
white object in- front, I could not help regretting the 
waste (as it seems) of this wonderful display going on, 
when no eyes can feast upon its sublimity. In the saloon 
there was a little fair-haired boy of seven years old, with 
the intellectual faculties largely developed — indeed, so 
much so as to be painfully suggestive of water on the 
brain. His father called him into the middle of the 
room, and he repeated a long oration of Daniel Webster's 
without once halting for a word, giving to it the action 
and emphasis of the orator. This was a fair specimen of 
the frequent undue development of the minds of American 

At Niagara I finally took leave of the Walrences, 
as I had many visits to pay, and near midnight left 
for Hamilton, under the escort of a very kind, but 
very Grandisonian Scotch gentleman. I was intensely 
tired and sleepy, and it was a very cheerless thing to 
leave a warm room at midnight for an omnibus-drive of 
two miles along a bad, unlighted road. There did 
not appear to be any waiting-room at the bustling 
station at the suspension bridge, for, alas! the hollow 
scream of the locomotive is heard even above the 




thunder of Niagara. I slept in the ears for an hour 
before we started, and never woke till the conductor 
demanded payment of ray fare in no very gentle tones. 
We reached Hamilton shortly after two in the morn- 
ing, in the midst of a high wind and pouring rain ; and 
in company with a dozen very dirty emigrants we 
entered a lumber waggon with a canvas top, drawn by 
one miserable horse. The curtains very imperfectly kept 
out the rain, and we were in continual fear of an upset. 
At last the vehicle went down on one side, and all the 
Irish emigrants tumbled over each other and us, with a 
profusion of " Ochs," " murders," and " spalpeens." The 
driver composedly shouted to us to alight ; the hole was 
only deep enough to sink the vehicle to the axletree. 
We got out into a very capacious lake of mud, and in 
again, in very ill humour. At last the horse fell down 
in a hole, and my Scotch friend and I got out and walked 
in the rain for some distance to a very comfortable hotel, 
the City Arms. The sun had scarcely warmed the world 
into waking life before I was startled from my sleep by 
the cry, " Six o'clock ; all aboard for the 'bus at half-past, 
them as goes by the Passport and Highlander ;" but it 
was half-past, and I had barely time to dress before the 
disagreeable shout of " All aboard !" echoed through 
the house, and I hurried down stairs into an omnibus, 
which held twenty-two persons inside, commodiously 
seated in arm-chairs. I went down Lake Ontario in the 
Highlander ; Mr. Forrest met me on the wharf, and in a 
few hours I was again warmly welcomed at his hospitable 

My relics of my visit to Niagara consisted of a few 

238 A " SELL/' Chap. XI. 

Indian curiosities, and a printed certificate filled up with 
my name,* stating that I had walked for 230 feet behind 
the great fall, which statement, I was assured by an 
American fellow-traveller, was " a sell right entirely, an 
almighty all -fired big flam." 

* *' Niagara Falls, C. W.: Register Office, Table Rock.— This is to 

certify, that Miss has passed behiixd the Great Falling Sheet 

of Water to Termination Rock, being 230 feet behind the Qreat Horse- 
shoe Fall. — Qiven under my hand this 13th day of—, 1854. — 
Thomas Baenett." 




A scene at starting — That dear little Harry — The old lady and the 
race — Running the Rapids — An aside — Snow and discomfort — 
A new country — An extemporised ball — Adventure with a madman 
— Shooting the cataract — First appearance of Montreal — Its cha- 
racteristics — Quebec in a fog — " Muflins " — Quebec gaieties — The 
pestilence — Restlessness — St. Louis and St. Roch — The shady 
side — Dark dens — External characteristics — Lord Elgin — Mis- 
taking a senator. 

The Arabian^ by which I left Toronto, was inferior to 
any American steamer I had travelled in. It was 
crowded with both saloon and steerage passengers, bound 
for Cobourg, Port Hope, and Montreal. It was very 
bustling and dirty, and the carpet was plentifully sprin- 
kled with tobacco-juice. The captain was very much 
flustered with his unusually large living cargo, but he 
was a good-hearted man, and very careful, having, to use 
his own phrase, " climbed in at the hawse-holes, and 
worked hia way aft, instead of creeping in at the cabin 
window with his gloves on." The stewards were dirty, 
and the stewardess too smart to attend to the comforts of 
the passengers. 

As passengers, crates, and boxes poured in at both the 
fore and aft entrances, I went out on the little slip of 
deck to look at the prevalent confusion, having previously 
ascertained that all my effects were secure. The scene 
was a very amusing one, for, acting out the maxim that 


" time is money," comparatively few of the passengers 
came down to the wharf more than fire minutes before 
the hour of sailing. People, among whom were a 
number of " unprotected females," and juveniles who 
would not move on^ were entangled among trucks and carts 
discharging cargo — hacks, horses, crates, and barrels. 
These passengers, who would find it difficult to elbow their 
way unencumbered, find it next to impossible when their 
hands are burdened with uncut books, baskets of provender, 
and diminutive carpet-bags. Horses back carts against 
helpless females, barrels roll upon people's toes, news- 
paper hawkers puff their wares, bonbon venders push their 
plaster of Paris abominations almost at people's eyes, yet, 
strange to say, it is very seldom that any accident occurs. 
Family groups invariably are separated, and distracted 
mammas are running after children whom everybody wishes 
out of the way, giving utterance to hopes that they are 
not on shore. Then the obedient papa is sent on shore 
to look after " that dear little Harry,*' who is probably 
all the time in the ladies' saloon on some child-fancier's 
lap eating bonbons. The board is drawn in — the moor- 
ings are cast off — the wheels revolve — the bell rings — the 
engine squeals, and away speeds the steamer down the 
calm waters of Lake Ontario. Little children and in- 
quisitive young ladies are knocked down or blackened in 
coiling the hawser, by " hands" who, being nothing but 
handsj evidently cannot say, " I beg your pardon, miss." 
There were children, who always will go where they 
ought not to go, running against people, and taking hold 
of their clothes with sticky, smeared hands, asking com- 
mercial gentlemen to spin their tops, and corpulent ladies 


to play at hide and seek. I saw one stern-visaged gentle- 
man tormented in this way till he looked ready to give 
the child its " final quietus."* There were angry people 
who had lost their portmanteaus, and were ransacking 
the state-rooms in quest of them, and indolent people who 
lay on the sofas reading novels and chewing tobacco. 
Some gentleman, taking no heed of a printed notice, 
goes to the ladies' cabin to see if his wife is safe on 
board, and meets with a rebufi' from the stewardess, who 
tells him that " gentlemen are not admitted," and, know- 
ing that the sense, or, as he would say, the nonsense of 
the community is against him, he beats a reluctant re- 
treat. Everybody seems to have lost somebody or some- 
thing, but in an hour or two the ladies are deep in novels, 
the gentlemen in the morning papers, the children have 
quarrelled themselves to sleep, and the captain has gone 
to smoke by the funnel. 

I sat on the slip of deck with a lady from Lake Supe- 
rior, niece of the accomplished poetess Mrs. Hemans, 
and she tried to arouse me into admiration of the shore 
of Lake Ontario ; but I confess that I was too much 
occupied with a race which we were running with the 
American steamer Maple-leaf, to look at the flat, 
gloomy, forest-fringed coast There is an inherent love 
of the excitement of a race in all human beings — even 
old ladies are not exempt from it, if we may believe a 
story which I heard on the Mississippi. An old lady was 

♦ American juveniles are, generally speaking, completely destitute 
of that agreeable shyness which prevents English and Scotch children 
from annoying strangers. 


242 A EAGE. Chap. XU. 

going down the river for the first time, and expressed to 
the captain her earnest hope that there would be no 
racing. Presently another boat neared them, and half 
the passengers urged the captain to " pile on^ The old 
lady shrieked and protested, but to no purpose; the 
skipper " piled on ;'' and as the race was a very long 
and doubtful one, she soon became excited. The rival 
boat shot ahead ; the old lady gave a side of bacon, her 
sole possession, to feed the boiler fires— the boat was left 
behind — she clapped her hands — ^it ran ahead again, and» 
frantic, she seated herself upon the safety-valve I It was 
again doubtful, but, lo ! the antagonist boat was snagged^ 
and the lady gave a yell of perfect delight when she saw 
it discomfited, and a hundred human beings struggling 
in the water. Our race, however, was destitute of excite- 
ment, for the Maple-leaf yf as a much better sailer than 

Dinner constituted an important event in the day, and 
was despatched very voraciously, though some things were 
raw, others overdone, and all greasy. But the three hun- 
dred people who sat down to dinner were, as some one 
observed, three hundred reasons against eating anything. 
I had to endure a severe attack of ague, and about nine 
o'clock the stewardess gave up her room to me, and, as 
she faithfully promised to call me half an hour beforq 
we changed the boats, I slept very soundly. At five 
she came in — " Get up, miss, we 're at Guananoque-; 
you 've only five minutes to dress." I did dress in five 
minutes, and, leaving my watch, with some very valu- 
able lockets, under my pillow, hastened across a narrow 
plank, half blinded by snow, into the clean, light, hand- 


some steamer New Era, I did not allow myself to fall 
asleep in the very comfortable state-room which was 
provided for me by the friend with whom I was travel- 
ling, but hurried upstairs with the first grey of the chilly 
wintry dawn of the morning of the 18th of October. 
The saloon-windows were dimmed with snow, so I went 
out on deck and braved the driving wind and snow on 
that inhospitable morning, for we were in the Lake of the 
Thousand Islands. Travellers have written and spoken 
so much of the beauty of this celebrated piece of water, 
that I expected to be disappointed ; but, au contraire, I 
am almost inclined to write a rhapsody myself. 

For three hours we were sailing among these beautiful 
irregularly-formed islands. There are 1692 of them, 
and they vary in size from mere rocks to several acres 
in extent. Some of them are perfect paradises of beauty. 
They form a complete labyrinth, through which the pilot 
finds his way, guided by numerous beacons. Sometimes 
it appeared as if there were no egress, and as if we were 
running straight upon a rock, and the water is every- 
where so deep, that from the deck of the steamer people 
can pull the leaves from the trees. A hundred varieties 
of trees and shrubs grow out of the grey lichen-covered 
rocks ->it seems barbarous that the paddles of a steamer 
should disturb their delicate shadows. If I found this 
lake so beautiful on a day in the middle of October, when 
the bright autumn tints had changed into a russet brown, 
and when a chill north-east wind was blowing about the 
withered leaves, and the snow against the ship — and when, 
more than all, I was only just recovering from ague— 
what would it be on a bright summer-day, when the blue 

M 2 

244 SNOW-STOKM. Chap. XII. 

of heaven would be reflected in the clear waters of the St 
Lawrence ! 

By nine a furious snow-storm rendered all objects in* 
distinct, and the fog had thickened to such an extent 
that we could not see five feet ahead, so we came to an- 
chor for an hour. A very excellent breakfast was de- 
spatched during this time, and at ten we steamed off 
again, steering by compass on a river barely a mile wide ! 
The New Era was a boat of a remarkably light draught 
of water. The saloon, or deck-house, came to within 
fifteen feet of the bow, and on the hurricane-deck above 
there was a tower containing a double wheel, with which 
the ship is steered by chains one himdred feet long. 
There is a look-out place in front of this tower, generally 
occupied by the pilot, a handsome, ruffian-looking French 
voyageur^ with earrings in his ears. Captain Chrysler, 
whose caution, urbanity, and kindness render him de- 
servedly popular, seldom leaves this post of observation, 
and personally pays very great attention to his ship ; for 
the river St. Lawrence has as bad a reputation for destroy- 
ing the vessels which navigate it as the Mississippi. 

The snow was now several inches deep on deck, and, 
melting near the deck-house, trickled under the doors 
into the saloon. The moisture inside, also, condensed 
upon the ceiling, and produced a constant shower-bath 
for the whole day. Sofas and carpets were alike wet, 
everybody sat in goloshes — the ladies in cloaks, the gen- 
tlemen in oilskins ; the smell of the latter, and of so many 
wet woollen clothes, in an apartment heated by stove-heat, 
.being almost unbearable. At twelve the fog and snow 
cleared away, and revealed to view the mighty St. Law- 


rence — ^a rapid stream whirling along in small eddies 
between slightly elevated banks dotted with white home- 
steads. We passed a gigantic raft, with five log shanties 
upon it, near Prescott These rafts go slowly and safely 
down the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa, till they come to 
La Chine, where frequent catastrophes happen, if one 
may judge from the timber which strews the rocks. A 
gentleman read from a newspaper these terrible statistics, 
*• horrible if true," — " Forty-four murders and seven 
hundred murderous assaults have been committed at New 
York within the last six months." {Sensation.) We stopped 
at Prescott, one of the oldest towns in Canada, and shortly 
afterwards passed the blackened ruins of a windmill, and 
some houses held by a band of American ^^ sympathisers " 
during the rebellion in 1838, but from which they were 
dislodged by the cannon of the royal troops. Five hun- 
dred American sympathisers, with several pieces of can- 
non, under cover of darkness, on a lovely night in May, 
landed at this place. Soon after, they were attacked by 
a party of English regulars and militiamen, who drove 
them into a windmill and two strong stone houses, which 
they loopholed, and defended themselves with a pertinacity 
which one would have called heroism, had it been in a 
better cause. They finally surrendered, and were carried 
prisoners to Kingston, where six of them were hanged. 
Their leader, a military adventurer, a Pole of the name 
of Von Schoultz, was the first to be executed. He fought 
with a skill and bravery worthy of the nation from whence 
he sprung, and died without complaint, except of those 
who had enticed him to fight for a godless cause, under 
the name of liberty. 


Brighter days have since dawned upon Canada, and at 
this time the most discontented can scarcely find the sha- 
dow of a grievance to lay hold of. 

As an instance of the way in which the utilitarian 
essentials of a high state of civilisation are diffiised 
throughout Canada, I may mention that when we ar- 
rived at Cornwall I was able to telegraph to* Kingston fi>r 
my lost watch, and received a satisfactory answer in half 
an hour. 

After sailing down this mighty river at a rapid rate for 
some hours, we ran the Galouse Rapids. Running the 
rapids is a favourite, and, I must add, a charming diver^ 
sion of adventurous travellers. There is just that slight 
sense of danger which lends a zest to novelty, and it is 
furnished by the facts that some timid persons land before 
coming to the rapids, and that many vessels have come to 
an untimely end in descending them. There is a fa- I 

vourite story of General Amherst, who during the war 
was sent down by the river to attack Montreal, with three 
hundred and fifty men, and the first intimation which the 
inhabitants received of the intended surprise was through 
the bodies of the ill-fated detachment, clothed in the well- 
known scarlet, floating by their city, the victims of the 
ignorance or treachery of the pilot. 

One of the great pleasures which I promised myself 
in my visit to Canada was from running these rapids, and 
I was not disappointed. At the Galouse, the river ex- 
pands into a wide shallow stream, containing beautiful 
islands, among which the water rushes furiously, being 
broken into large waves, boiling, foaming, and whirling 
round. The steamer neared the rapids — ^half her steam 


was shut off — SIX men appeared at the wheel — we glided 
noiselessly along in smooth, green, deep water — ^the 
furious waves were before us — the steamer gave one per- 
ceptible downward plunge — the spray dashed over the 
bows — and at a speed of twenty-five miles an hour we 
hurried down the turbulent hill of waters, running so 
near the islands often tliat escape seemed hopeless — then 
guided safely away by the skill of the pilot. 

The next rapid was the Longue Sault, above a mile in 
length. The St Lawrence is here divided into two 
channels. The one we took is called the Lost Passage ; 
the Indian pilot wh6 knew it died, and it has only been 
recovered within the last five years. It is a very fine 
rapid, the islands being extremely picturesque. We went 
down it at dizzy speed, with all our steam on. I sup- 
pose that soon after this we entered the Lower Province, 
for the aspect of things totally changed. The villages 
bore French names ; there were high wooden crosses by 
the water-side ; the houses were many-gabled and many- 
windowed, with tiers of balconies; and the setting sun 
flashed upon Romish churches with spires of glittering 
tin. Everything was marked by stagnation and retro- 
gression : the people are hahitans^ the clergy curh. 

We ran the Cedars, a magnificent rapid, superior in 
beauty to the Grand Rapids at Niagara, and afterwards 
those of the Coteau du Lac and the Split Rock, but were 
obliged to anchor at La Chine, as its celebrated cataract 
can only be shot by daylight. It was cold and dark, and 
nearly all the passengers left La Chine by the cars for 
Montreal, to avoid what some people consider the perilous 
descent of this rapid. As both means of reaching Mont- 


real were probably equally safe, I decided on remaining 
on board, having secured a state-room. My companions 
in the saloon were the captain's wife and a lady who 
seemed decidedly flighty^ and totally occupied in waiting 
upon a poodle lapdog. After the captain left, the stokers 
and pokers, and stewards and cooks, extemporised a ball, 
with the assistance of a blind Scotch fiddler, and invited 
numerous lassies, who appeared as if by magic from a 
wharf to which we were moored. I cannot say that they 
tripped it " on the light fantastic toe," for brogues and 
highlows stumped heavily on the floor; but what waa 
wanting in elegance was amply compensated for by merri- 
ment and vivacity. The conversation was rather of a 
polyglot character, being carried on in French, Gaelic, 
and English. 

Throughout the night I was occupied in incessant 
attempts to keep up vital warmth, and when the steward 
called me at five o'clock, I found that I had been sleeping 
with the window open, and that the water in the jug was 
frozen. Wintry-looking stars were twinkling through a 
frosty fog ; the wet hawsers were frozen stiff on deck ; six 
came, the hour of starting, but still there were no signs 
of moving. Railroads have not yet taught punctuality to 
the Canadians, but better things are in store for them. 
Cold to the very bone, I walked up and down the saloon 
to warm myself The floor was wet, and covered with 
saturated rugs ; there were no fires in the stoves, and my 
only resource was to lean against the engine-enclosure, 
and warm my frozen hands on the hot wood. I was 
joined by a very old gentleman, who, amid many com- 
plaints, informed me that he had had an attack of 

Chap. XII. A MADMAN. 249 

apoplexy during the night, and some one, finding him 
insensible, had opened the jugular vein. His lank white 
hair flowed over his shoulders, and his neckcloth and 
shirt-front were smeared with blood. He said he had 
cut his wife's throat, and that her ghost was after him. 
" There, there ! " he said, pointing to a comer. I looked 
at his eyes, and saw at once that I was in the company 
of a madman. He then said that he was king of the island 
of Montreal,, and that he had murdered his wife because 
she was going to betray him to the Queen of England. 
He was now, he declared, going down to make a public 
entrance into Montreal. After this avowaUI treated 
him with the respect due to his fancied rank, till I could 
call the stewards without exciting his suspicions. They 
said that he was a confirmed lunatic, and had several 
times attempted to lay violent hands upon himself. They 
thought he must have escaped from his keeper at Brock* 
ville, and, with true madman's cunning, he had secreted 
himself in the steamer. They kept him under strict 
surveillance till we arrived at Montreal, and frustrated 
an attempt which he made to throw himself into the rapid 
as we were descending it. 

At seven we unmoored from the pier at La Chine, and 
steamed over the calm waters of the Lac St. Louis, under 
the cisire of a Canadian voyageur^ who acted as a sub- 
ordinate to an Indian pilot, who is said to be the only 
person acquainted with the passage, and whom the boats 
are obliged under penalty to take. The lake narrows at 
La Chine, and becomes again the St. Lawrence, which pre- 
sents a most extraordinary appearance, being a hill of shal- 

M 3 


low niBhing water about a mile wide, chafing a few islsuids 
which loo^ ready to be carried away by it The large 
river Ottawa joins the St. Lawrence a short distance from 
this, and mingles its turbid waters with that mighty flood. 
The river became more and more rapid till we entered 
what might be termed a «^ of large, cross, leaping waves, 
and raging waters, enough to engulf a small boat. The 
idea of descending it in a steamer was an extraordinary 
one. It is said that from the shore a vessel looks as if it 
were hurrying to certain destruction. Still we hurry on, 
with eight men at the wheel— rocks appear like snags in 
the middle of the stream — we dash straight down upon 
rocky islets, strewn with the wrecks oC rafts ; but a turn 
of the wheel, and we rush by them in safety at a speed 
('tis said) of thirty miles an hour, till a ragged ledge of 
rock stretches across the whirling stream. Still on we go — 
louder roars the flood — steeper appears the descent — 
earth, sky, and water seem mingled together. I involun- 
tarily took hold of the rail — ^the madman attempted to 
jump over — the jf%Afy lady screamed and embraced more 
closely her poodle-dog ; we reached the ledge — one 
narrow space free from rocks appeared — down with one 
plunge went the bow into a turmoil of foam — ^and we 
had " shot the cataract " of La Chine. 

The exploit is one of the most agreeable which the 
traveller can perform, and the thick morning mist added 
to the apparent danger. We steamed fqr four or five 
miles farther down the river, when suddenly the great 
curtain of mist was rolled up as by an invisible hand, and 
the scene which it revealed was Montreal. 


I nerer saw a city which looked so magnificent from 
the water. It covers a very large extent of ground, which 
gently slopes upwards from the lake*like river, and is 
1>acked by the Mountain, a precipitous hill, 700 feet in 
height. It is decidedly foreign in appearance, even from 
a distance. When the fog cleared away it revealed this 
mountain, with the forest which covers it, all scarlet and 
purple; the blue waters of the river hurried joyously 
along ; the Green and Belleisle mountains wore the rosy 
tints of dawn ; the distances were bathed in a purple 
glow ; and the tin roofs, lofty spires, and cupolas of Mont- 
real flashed back the beams of the rising sun. 

A lofty Gothic edifice, something from a distance like 
Westminster Abbey, and handsome public buildings, with 
a superb wharf a mile long, of hewn stone, present a 
very imposing appearance from the water. We landed 
from the first lock of a ship-canal, and I immediately drove 
to the residence of the Bishop of Montreal, a house near 
the mountain, in a very elevated situation, and command- 
ing a magnificent view. From the Bishop and his family 
I received the greatest kindness, and have very agreeable 
recollections of Montreal. 

It was a most curious and startling change from the 
wooden erections, wide streets, and the impress of novelty 
which pervaded everything I had seen in the New World, 
to the old stone edifices, lofty houses, narrow streets, and 
tin roofs of the city of Montreal. There are iron window- 
shutters, convents with grated windows and long dead 
walls ; there are narrow thoroughfares, crowded with 
strangely-dressed habitans, and long processions of priests. 

252 KONTBEAL. Chap. Xn. 

Then the French origin of the town contrasts eyerywfaere 
with the English occupation of it. There are streets — ^the 
Rue St. Genevieve, the Rue St Antoine, and the Rue 
St. Fran9ois Xavier ; there are ancient customs and feudal 
privileges ; Jesuit seminaries, and convents of the Sasurs 
Gris and the Sulpicians ; priests in long black dresses ; 
native carters in coats with hoods, woollen nightcaps, and 
coloured sashes; and barristers pleading in the French 
language. Then there are Manchester goods, in stores 
kept by bustling Yankees ; soldiers lounge about in the 
scarlet and rifle uniforms of Englandj Presbyterian 
tunes sound from plain bald churches; the institutions 
are drawn alike from Paris and Westminster ; and the 
public vehicles partake of the fashions of Lisbon and Long 
Acre. You hear " Place aux dames " on one side of the 
street, and ^^glartg " on the other ; and the United States 
have contributed their hotel system and their slang. 

Montreal is an extraordinary place. It is alive with 
business and enterprising traders, with soldiers, carters, 
and equipages. Through the kindness of the Bishop, I 
saw everything of any interest in the town. The first 
thing which attracted my attention was the magnificent 
view from the windows of the See-house, over the wide 
St. Lawrence and the green mountains of Vermont ; 
the next, an immense pair of elaborately-worked bronze 
gates, at a villa opposite, large enough for a royal resi- 
dence. The side-walks in the outskirts of the town 
were still of the villanous wood, but in the streets they 
were very substantial, and, like the massive stone houses, 
look as if they had lasted for two hundred years, and 


Chap. XIL MONTREAL: 253 

might last for a thousand more. We . visited, among 
other things, some schools — one, the Normal School, an 
extremely interesting one, where it is intended to train 
teachers, on Church-of-England principles. I was very 
much surprised and pleased with the amount of solid 
information and high attainments of the children, as evi- 
denced by their composition, and answers to the Bishop of 
Montreal's very difficult questions. They looked sallow 
and emaciated, and, contrary to what I have observed 
in England, the girls seemed the most intelligent. The 
Bishop has also established a library, where, for the small 
sum of four shillings a year, people can regale themselves 
upon a variety of works, from the volumes of Alison, not 
more ponderous in appearance than matter, to the news- 
paper literature of the day. 

The furriers' shops are by no means to be overlooked. 
There were sleigh-robes of buffalo, bear, fox, wolf, and 
racoon, varying in price from six to thirty guineas ; and 
coats, leggings, gloves, and caps, rendered nedfessary by the 
severity of a winter in which the thermometer often stands 
at thirty degrees below zero. People vie with each other 
in the costliness of their furs and sleigh equipments; a 
complete set sometimes costing as much as a hundred 

I went into the Romish cathedral, which is the largest 
Gothic building in the New World. It was intended to 
be very imposing — it has succeeded in being very extra- 
vagant; and if the architects intended that their work 
should live in the admiration of succeeding generations, 
like York Minster, Cologne, or Rouen, they have signally 

254 HONTBEAL. Chap. XII. 

Internally, the effect of Its vast size is totally destroyed by 
pews and galleries which accommodate ten thousand people. 
There are some very large and very hideous paintings in 
it, in a very inferior style of sign-painting. The ceiling 
is painted bright blue, and the high altar was one mass of 
gaudy tinsel decoratioa In one comer there was a 
picture of babies being devoured by pigs, and trampled 
upon by horses, and underneath it was a box for offerings, 
with " This is the fate of the children of China " upon it. 
By it was a wooden box, hung with faded pink calico, 
containing small wooden representations, in the Noah's- 
ark style, of dogs, horses, and pigs, and a tall man hold- 
ing up a little dog by its hind legs. This peep-show (for 
I can call it nothing else) was at the same time so inex* 
plicable and so ludicrous, that, to avoid shocking the 
feelings of a devout-looking woman who was praying near 
it by an " ^clat de rtre'* we hurried from the church. 

I met with many sincere and devout Romanists among 
the upper classes in Canada; I know that there are 
thousands among the simple habitans ; and though, in a 
thoughtless moment, the fooleries and puerilities of their 
churches may excite a smile, it is a matter for the deepest 
regret that so many of our fellow-subjects should be the 
dupes of a despotic priesthood, and of a religion which 
cannot save. 

Close to the cathedral is the convent of the Grey 
Sisters, who, with the most untiring zeal and kindness, 
fulfil the vocations of the Sisters of Charity. There are 
several other convents, some of them very strict; and 
their high walls and grated windows give Montreal a very 
Continental appearance. On a lady remarking to a 

CaAP. xn. , MONTREAL. 255 

sister in one of tliese, that the view from the windows was 
very beautiful, she replied, with a suppressed sigh, that 
she had never seen it There are some very fine public 
buildings and banks ; but as I am not writing a guide-* 
book, I will not dilate upon their merits. 
. We walked round Le Champ de Marsy formerly the 
great resort of the Montreal young ladies, and along 
the Rue Notre Dame, to the market-place, which is said 
to be the second finest in the world, and, with its hand- 
some ^0^0^(0 and bright tin dome, forms one of the most 
prominent objects from the water. As those disgusting 
disfigmrements of our English streets, butchers' shops, 
are not to be seen in the Canadian towns, nor, I believe 
I may say, in those in the States, there is an enormous 
display of meat in the Montreal market, of an appearance 
by no means tempting. The scene outside was extremely 
picturesque ; there were hundreds of carts with shaggy, 
patient little horses in rows, with very miscellaneous 
tents — cabbages and butter jostling pork and hides. 
You may see here hundreds of habitansy who look as if 
they ought to have lived a century ago — shaggy men in 
fur caps and loose blue frieze coats with hoods, and with 
bright sashes of coloured wool round their waists ; 
women also, with hard features and bronzed complexions, 
in large straw hats, high white caps, and noisy sabots. 
On all sides a jargon of Irish, English, and French is to 
be heard, the latter generally the broadest patois. 

We went into the Council Chamber, the richly cushioned 
seats of which looked more fitted for sleep than deli- 
beration ; and I caught a glimpse of the ex-mayor, whose 
timidity during a time of popular ferment occasioned a 


great loss of human life. That popular Italian orator, 
" Father Gavazzi^^ was engaged in denouncing the super- 
stitions and impositions of Rome ; and on a mob evincing 
symptoms of turbulence, this mayor gave the order to fire 
to the troops who were drawn up in the streets. Scarcely 
had the words passed his lips, when by one volley seven- 
teen peaceful citizens (if I recollect rightly), coming out 
of the Unitarian chapel, were laid low. 

Montreal is a turbulent place. It is not very many 
years since a mob assembled and burned down the Par- 
liament House, for which exercise of the popular will the 
city is disqualified from being the seat of government. I 
saw something of Montreal society, which seemed to me 
to be quite on a par with that in our English provincial 

I left this ancient city at seven o'clock on a very dark, 
foggy evening for Quebec, the boats between the two 
cities running by night, in order that the merchants, by a: 
happy combination of travelling with sleep, may not lose 
that time which to them is money. This mode of pro- 
ceeding is very annoying to tourists, who thereby lose the 
far-famed beauties of the St. Lawrence. It is very ob- 
noxious likewise to timid travellers, of whom there are a 
large number both male and female : for collisions- and 
striking on rocks or shoals are accidents of such frequent 
occurrence, that, out of eight steamers which began the 
season, two only concluded it, two being disabled during 
my visit to Quebec. 

Scarcely had we left the wharf at Montreal when we 
came into collision with a brig, and hooked her anchor 
into our woodwork, which event caused a chorus of 


screams from some ladies whose voices were rather 
stronger than their nerves, and its remedy a great deal 
of bad language in French, German, and English, from 
the crews of both vessels. After this we ran down to 
Quebec at the rate of seventeen miles an hour, and the 
contretemps did not prevent even those who had screamed 
the loudest from partaking of a most substantial supper, 
which was served at eight o'clock in the lowest story of 
the ship. The John Munn was a very fine boat, not at 
all the worse for having sunk in the river in the summer. 
I considered Quebec quite the goal of my journey, for 
books, tongues, and poetry alike celebrate its beauty. 
Indeed, there seems to be only one opinion about it. 
From the lavish praise bestowed upon it by the eloquent 
and gifted author of ' Hochelaga ' down to the homely 
encomiums pronounced by bluff sea captains, there seems 
a unanimity of admiration which is rarely met with. 
Even commercial travellers, absorbed in intricate calcu- 
lations of dollars and cents, have been known to look up 
from their books to give it an enthusiastic expression of 
approval. I expected to be more pleased with it than 
with anything I had seen or was to see, and was insensate 
enough to rise at five o'clock and proceed into the saloon, 
when of course it was too dark for another hour to see 
anything. Daylight came, and from my corner by the 
fire I asked the stewardess when we should be in sight of 
Quebec ? She replied that we were close to it. I went 
to the window, expecting that a vision of beauty would 
burst upon my eyes. All that I saw might be summed 
up in very few words — a few sticks placed vertically, 
which might be masts, and some tin spires looming through 

258 QUEBEC IN A FOG. Chap. XIX. 

a very yellow, opaque medium. This was my first view 
of Quebec; happily, on my last the elements did fell 
justice to its beauty. Other objects developed them*>- 
selves as we steamed down to the wharf. There were 
huge rafts, some three or four acres in extent, which, 
having survived the perils which had beset them on their 
journey from the forests of the Ottawa, were now moored 
along the base of the lofty cliffs which, under the name 
of the Heights of Abraham, have a world-wide celebrity. 
There were huge, square-sided, bluff-bowed, low-masted 
ships, lying at anchor in interminable lines, and little, 
dirty, vicious-looking steam-tugs twirling in and out 
among them ; and there were grim-looking muzzles of 
guns protruding through embrasures, and peripatetic fur 
caps and bayonets behind parapets of very solid masonry* 

Above all, shadowing all, and steeping all, was the 
thickest fog ever seen beyond the sound of Bow-bells. It 
lay thick and heavy on Point Diamond, dimming the 
lustre of the bayonets of the sentinels as they paced the 
lofty bastions, and looked down into the abyss of fog 
below. It lay yet heavier on the rapid St Lawrence, 
and dripped from the spars and rigging of ships. It hung 
over and enveloped the town, where, combined with 
smoke, it formed a yellow canopy ; and damp and chill it 
penetrated the flag of England, weighing it down in 
heavy folds, as though ominous of impending calamity. 

Slowly winding our tortuous way among multitudinous 
ships, all vamped in drizzling mist, we were warped to 
the wharf, which was covered with a mixture of mud and 
coal-dust, permeated by the universal fog. Here vehicles 
of a most extraordinary nature awaited us, and, to my 


great surprise, they were all operu They were called 
(Hdashes^ and looked something like very high gigs with 
hoods and C springs. Where the dash-board was not, 
there was a little seat or perch for the driver, who with 
a foot on each shaft looked in a very precarious position. 
These conveyances have the most absurd appearance; 
tihere are, however, a few closed vehicles, both at Montreal 
and Quebec, which I believe are not to be found in the 
civilized world elsewhere, except in a few back streets of 
Lisbon. These consist of a square box on two wheels. 
This box has a top, back, and front, but where the sides 
ought to be there are curtains of deer-hide, which are a 
very imperfect protection from wind and rain. The 
driver sits on the roof, and the conveyance has a constant 
tendency backwards, which is partially counteracted by a 
band under the horse's body, but only partially, and the 
inexperienced denizen of the box fancies himself in a state 
of constant jeopardy. 

In an open calash I drove to Russell's Hotel, along 
streets steeper, narrower, and dirtier than any I had ever 
seen. Arrived within two hundred yards of the hotel, 
we were set down in the mud. On alighting, a gentle- 
man who had been my fellow-traveller politely offered to 
guide me, and soon after addressed me by name. ** Who 
can you possibly be?" I asked — so completely had a 
beard metamorphosed an acquaintance of five years* 

Once within the hotel, I had the greatest difficulty 
in finding my way about. It is composed of three of 
the oldest houses in Quebec, and has no end of long 
passages, dark winding staircases, and queer little rooms. 

260 " MUFFINS.- Chap. XII. 

It is haunted to a fearful extent by rats; and direful 
stories, " horrible, if true," were related in the parlour 
of personal mutilations sustained by visitors. My room 
was by no means in the oldest part of the house, yet I 
used to hear nightly sorties made in a very systematic 
manner by these quadruped intruders. The waiters at 
Russell's are complained of for their incirility, but we 
thought them most profuse both in their civility and 
attentions. Nevertheless, with all its disagreeables, Rus* 
sell's is the best hotel in Quebec ; and, as a number of 
the members of the Legislative Assembly live there 
while Parliament meets in that city, it is very lively and 

When my English friends Mr. and Mrs. Alderson 
arrived, we saw a good deal of the town ; but it has been 
so often described, that I may as well pass on to other 
subjects, llie glowing descriptions givefc of it by the 
author of * Hochelaga ' must be familiar to many of my 
readers. They leave nothing to be desired, except the 
genial glow of enthusiasm and kindliness of heart which 
threw a couleur de rose over everything he saw. 

There are some notions which must be unlearned in 
Canada, or temporarily laid aside. At the beginning of 
winter, which is the gay season in this Paris of the New 
World, every unmarried gentleman, who chooses to do so, 
selects a young lady to be his companion in the numerous 
amusements of the time. It does not seem that any- 
thing more is needed than the consent of the maiden, who, 
when she acquiesces in the arrangement, is called a 
" muffin^" — for the mammas were " muffins " themselves 
in their day, and cannot refuse their daughters the same 


privilege. The gentleman is privileged to take the young 
lady about in his sleigh, to ride with her, to walk with 
her, to dance with her a whole evening without any re- 
mark, to escort her to parties, and be her attendant on all 
occasions. When the spring arrives, the arrangement is 
^at an end, and I did not hear that an engagement is fre- 
quently the result, or that the same couple enter into this 
agreement for two successive winters. Probably the rea- 
son may be, that they see too much of each other. 
' This practice is almost universal at Montreal and Que- 
bec. On the fine, frosty, moonlight nights, when the 
sleigh-bells ring merrily and the crisp snow crackles 
under the horse's feet, the gentlemen call to take their 
" muffins "' to meetings of the sleighing-clubs, or to snow- 
shoe picnics, or to champagne-suppers on the ice, from 
which they do not return till two in the morning ; yet, 
with all this apparent fi*eedom of manner, the Canadian 
ladies are perfectly modest, feminine^ and ladylike ; their 
simplicity of manners is great, and probably there is no 
country in the worid where there is a larger amount of 
domestic felicity. 

The beauty of the young ladies of Canada is celebrated, 
and, though on going into a large party one may not see 
more than two or three who are strikingly or regularly 
beautiful, the tout ensemble is most attractive ; the eyes 
are invariably large and lustrous, dark and pensive, or 
blue and sparkling with vivacity. Thefa- manners and 
movements are unaffected and elegant ; they dress in ex- 
quisite taste ; and with a grace peculiarly their own, their 
manners have a fascination and witchery which is per- 
fectly irresistible. They generally receive their education 


at the convents, and go into society at a very early age, 
very frequently before they have seen sixteen summers, 
and after this time the whirl of amusement precludes 
them from giving much time to literary employments* 
They are by no means deeply read, and few of them pky 
anything more than modem dance music. They dance 
beautifully, and so great is their passion for this amuse- 
ment, probably derived from their French ancestors, thAt 
married ladies frequently attend the same dancing classes 
with their children, in order to keep themselves in con- 
stant practice. 

At the time of my visit to Quebec there were large 
parlies every night, most of which were honoured with 
the presence of Lord Elgin and his suite. One of his 
aides-de-camp was Lord Bury, Lord Albemarle's son, who, 
on a tour through North America, became enamoured of 
Quebec. Lord Elgin's secretary was Mr. Oliphant, llie 
talented author of the ' Russian Shores of the Black Sea,' 
who had also jrielded to the fascinations of this northern 
capital. And no wonder! for there is not a friendlier 
place in the whole world. I went armed with but two 
letters of introduction, and received hospitality and kind- 
ness for which I can never be sufficiently grateful. 

The cholera, which in America assumes nearly the 
fatality and rapidity of the plague, had during the sum- 
mer ravaged Quebec. It had entered and desolated 
happy homes, and, not confining itself to the abodes of the 
poor and miserable, had attacked the rich, the gifted, 
and the beautiful. For long \h^ Destroying Angel ' 
hovered over the devoted city — neither age nor infancy 
was spared, and numbers were daily hurried from the 


vigour of living manhood into the silence and oblivion of 
the grave. Vigorous people, walking along the streets, 
were suddenly seized with shiverings and cramp, and 
sank down on the pavement to rise no more, sometimes 
actually expiring on the cold, hard stones. Pleasure 
was forgotten, business was partially suspended ; all who 
could, fled ; the gloom upon the souls of the inhabitants 
was heavier than the brown cloud which was supposed 
to brood over the city ; and the steamers which conveyed 
those who fled from th^ terrible pestilence arrived at 
Toronto freighted with the living and the dead. Among 
the terror-stricken, the dying, and the dead, the ministers 
of religion pursued their holy calling, undaunted by 
the terrible sights which met them everywhere — the 
clergy of the difierent denominations vied with each 
other in their kindness and devotedness. The priests 
of Rome then gained a double influence. Armed with 
wliat appeared in the eyes of the people supernatural 
powers, they knew no rest either by night or day ; they 
held the cross before many a darkening eye, and spoke 
to the bereaved, in the plenitude of their anguish, of a 
world where sorrow and separation are alike unknown. 
The heavy clang of tolling bells was hourly heard, as 
the pestilence-stricken were carried to their last homes. 
Medical skill availed nothing ; the '' pestilence which 
walketh in darkness " was only removed by Him in whose 
hand are the issues of life and death. 

Quebec had been free from disease for about six weeks 
before I visited it ; the victims of the pestilence were 
cold in their untimely graves; the sun of prosperity 
smiled upon the fortress-city, and its light-hearted inha- 


bitants had just began their nightly roand of pleasure 
and gaiety. The viceroyalty of Lord Elgin was drawing 
rapidly to a close, and two parties, given every week at 
Government House, afforded an example which the good 
people of Quebec were not slow to follow. There were 
musical parties, conversaziones, and picnics to the Chau- 
diere and Lorette ; and people who were dancing till four 
or five o'clock in the morning were vigorous enough after 
ten for a gallop to M ontmorenci. 

The absolute restlessness of the city astonished me 
very much. The morning seemed to begin, with fashion- 
able people, with a desultory breakfast at nine o'clock, after 
which some received callers, others paid visits, or walked 
into the town to make trifling purchases at the stores ; 
while not a few of the young ladies promenaded St Louis 
Street or the ramparts, where they were generally joined 
by the officers. Several officers said to me that no 
quarters in the world were so delightful 83 those at 
Quebec. A scarlet coat finds great favour with the fair 
dex at Quebec — civilians, however great their mental 
qualifications, are decidedly in the background; and I 
was amused to see young ensigns, with budding mous- 
taches, who had just joined their re^ments, preferred 
before men of high literary attainments. With balls, and 
moose-hunting, and sleigh-driving, and " tarboggining," 
and, last but not least, ^' muffins," the time passes rapidly 
by to them. A gentleman, who had just arrived from 
England, declared that '^ Quebec was a horrid place, not 
fit to live in." A few days after he met the same indi- 
vidual to whom he had made this uncomplimentary 
observation, and confided to him that he thought Quebec 


" the most delightful place in the whole world ; for, do 
you know/' he said, " I have got a muffin." 

With the afternoon numerous riding parties are 
formed, for you cannot go three miles out of Quebec 
without coming to something beautiful ; and calls of a 
more formal nature are paid ; a military band performs on 
Durham Terrace or the Garden, which then assume the 
appearance of most fashionable promenades. The even- 
ing is spent in the ball-room, or at small social dancing 
parties, or during the winter, before ten at night, in the 
galleries of the House of Assembly; and the morning is well 
advanced before the world of Quebec is hushed in sleep. 

Society is contained in very small limits at Quebec. 
Its 4lite are grouped round the ramparts and in the 
suburb of St. Louis. The city until recently has occu- 
pied a very isolated position, and has depended upon 
itself for society. It is therefore sociable, friendly, and 
hospitable ; and though there is gossip — for where is it 
not to be found ? — I never knew any in which there was 
so little of ill-nature. The little world in the upper part 
of the city is probably the most brilliant to be found 
anywhere in so small a compass. But there is a world 
below, another nation, seldom mentioned in the aristo- 
cratic quarter of St. Louis, where vice, crime, poverty, 
and misery jostle each other, as pleasure and politics do 
in the upper town. This is the suburb of St. Roch, in 
whose tall dark houses and fetid alleys those are to be 
found whose birthright is toil, who spend life in supplying 
the necessities of to-day, while indulging in gloomy ap- 
prehensions for to-morrow — who have not one comfort in 
the past to cling to, or one hope for the future to cheer. 


266 ST. KOCH. Chap. XII. 

St. Roch is as crowded &s the upper town, but with a 
very different population — the poor, the degraded, and 
the vicious. Here fever destroys its tens, and cholera its 
hundreds. Here people stab each other, and think 
little of it. Here are narrow alleys, with high, black- 
looking, stone houses, with broken windows pasted on 
with paper in the lower stories, and stuffed with rags in 
the upper — gradations of wretchedness which I have 
observed in the Cowgate and West Port at Edinburgh. 
Here are shoeless women, who quiet their children with 
ardent spirits, and brutal men, who would kill both wives 
and children if they dared. Here are dust- heaps in 
which pigs with long snouts are ever routing — here are 
lean curs, wrangling with each other for leaner bones — 
here are ditches and puddles, and heaps of oyster- 
shells, and broken crockery, and cabbage-stalks, and 
fragments of hats and shoes. Here are torn notices 
on the walls ofiering rewards for the apprehension of 
diieves and murderers, painfully suggestive of dark deeds. 
A little further are lumber-yards and wharfs, and mud 
and sawdust, and dealers in old nails and rags and 
bones, and rotten posts and rails, and attempts at grass. 
Here are old barrel-hoops, and patches of old sails, and 
dead bushes and dead dogs, and old saucepans, and little 
plots of ground where cabbages and pumpkins drag on 
a pining existence. And then there is the river Charles, 
no longer clear and bright, as when trees and hills and 
flowers were mirrored on its surface, but foul, turbid, and 
polluted, with ship-yards and steam-engines and cranes 
and windlasses on its margin ; and here Quebec ends. 

From the rich, the fashionable, and the pleasure-seek- 

Chap. XII. ST. ROCH. 267 

ing suburb of St. Louis few venture down into the quarter 
of St. Roch, save those who, at tlie risk of drawing in 
pestilence with every breath, mindful of their duty to God 
and man, enter those hideous dwellings, ministering to 
minds and bodies alike diseased. My first visit to St 
Roch was on a Sunday afternoon. I had attended our 
own i^mple and beautiful service in the morning, and 
had seen the celebration of vespers in the Romish cathe* 
dral in the afternoon. Each church was thronged with 
well-dressed persons. It was a glorious day. The fashion- 
able promenades were all crowded; gay uniforms and 
brilliant parasols thronged the ramparts ; horsemen were 
cantering along St Louis Street; priestly processions 
passed to and from the different churches; numbers of 
calashes containing pleasure-parties were dashing about ; 
picnic parties were returning from Montmorenci and Lake 
Charles ; groups of vivacious talkers, speaking in the lan- 
guage of France, were at every street-corner ; Quebec had 
all the appearance, so painful to an English or Scottish 
eye, of a Continental sabbath. 

Mr. and Mrs. Alderson and myself left this gay scene, 
and the constant toll of Romish bells, for St. Roch. They 
had lived peacefully in a rural part of Devonshire, and 
more recently in one of the prettiest and most thriving 
of the American cities ; and when they first breathed the 
polluted air, they were desirous to return from what 
promised to be so peculiarly unpleasant, but kindly 
yielded to my desire to see something of the shady as 
well as the sunny side of Quebec. 

No Sabbath-day with its hallowed accompaniments 
seemed to have dawned upon the inhabitants of St. Roch. 

N 2 

268 ST. ROCH. Chap. XII. 

We saw women with tangled hair standing in the streets, 
and men with pallid countenances and bloodshot eyes 
were reeling about, or sitting with their heads resting on 
their hands, looking out from windows stuffed with rags. 
There were children too, children in nothing but the 
name and stature — infancy without innocence, learning to 
take God's name in vain with its first lisping accents, 
preparing for a maturity of suffering and shame. I 
looked at these hideous houses, and hideous men and 
women too, and at their still more repulsive progeny, 
with sallow faces, dwarfed forms, and countenances pre- 
cocious in the intelligence of villany; and contrasted 
them with the blue-eyed, rosy-cheeked infants of my 
English home, who chase butterflies and weave May gar- 
lands, and gather cowslips and buttercups ; or the sallow 
children of a Highland shantie, who devour instruction in 
mud-floored huts, and con their tasks on the heathery 
sides of hills. 

Yet, when you breathe the poisoned air, laden with 
everything noxious to health, and have the physical and 
moral senses alike met with everything that can disgust 
and ofiend, it ceases to be a matter of wonder that the 
fair tender plant of beautiful childhood refuses to grow 
in such a vitiated atmosphere. Here all distinctions 
between good and evil are speedily lost, if they were ever 
known ; and men, women, and children become unnatural 
in vice, in irreligion, in manners and appearance. Such 
spots as these act like cankers, yearly spreading further 
and further their vitiating influences, preparing for all 
those fearful retributions in the shape of fever and pesti- 
lence which continually come down. Yet, lamentable as 

Chap. XII. ST. ROCH. 269 

the state of such a population is, considered merely with 
regard to this world, it becomes fearful when we recollect 
that the wheels of Time are ceaselessly rolling on, bearing 
how few, alas ! to heaven — what myriads to hell ; and 
that, when " this trembling consciousness of being, which 
clings enamoured to its anguish," not because life is 
sweet, but because death is bitter, is over, there remains, 
for those who have known nothing on earth but misery 
and vice, " a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery 
indignation," when they that have done evil " shall rise 
to the resurrection of damnation." 

It was not that the miserable degraded appearance of 
St. Roch was anything new to me; unfortunately the 
same state of things exists in a far greater degree in our 
large towns at home ; what did surprise me was, to find it 
in the New World, and that such a gigantic evil should 
have required only two hundred years for its growth. It 
seemed to me also that at Quebec the gulf which sepa- 
rates the two worlds is greater even than that which lies 
between Belgravia and Bethnal Green or St. Giles's. 
The people who live in the lower town are principally 
employed on the wharfs, and in the lumber trade. But 
my readers will not thank me for detaining them in a 
pestiferous atmosphere, among such unpleasing scenes ; 
we will therefore ascend into the High-street of the 
city, resplendent with gorgeous mercers' stores, and 
articles of luxury of every description. This street and 
several others were at this period impassable for carriages, 
the roadways being tunnelled, and heaped, and barri- 
caded ; which curious and highly disagreeable state of . 
things was stated to arise from the laying down of water- 


pipes. At night, when fires were lighted in the narrow 
streets, and groups of roughly dressed Frenchmen were 
standing round them, Quebec presented the appearance 
of the Faubourg St. Antoine after a revolution. 

Quebec is a most picturesque city externally and inter- 
nally. From the citadel, which stands on a rock more 
than three hundred feet high, down to the crowded water- 
side, bustling with merchants, porters, and lumbermen, 
all is novel and original. Massive fortifications, with guns 
grinning from the embrasures, form a very prominent 
feature ; a broad glacis looks peaceful in its greenness ; 
ramparts line the Plains of Abraham ; guards and sentries 
appear in all directions ; nightfall brings with it the 
challenge — " TFho goes there f^ and narrow gateways 
form inconvenient entrances to streets so steep that t 
wondered how mortal horses could ever toil up them. 
The streets are ever thronged with vehicles, particularly 
with rude carts drawn by rough horses^ 4|n«»^ French 
peasants, who move stolidly along, indifierent to the con- 
tinual cry ^^ Place aux damesJ^ The stores generally 
have French designations above them, the shopmen often 
speak very imperfect English ; the names of the streets 
are French ; Romish ciiurches and convents abound, and 
Sisters of Charity, unwearied in their benevolence, are to 
be seen visiting the afflicted. 

Notices and cautions are posted up both in French and 
English ; the light vivacious tones of the French Cana- 
dians are everywhere heard, and from the pillar sacred to 
the memory of Wolfe upon the Plains of Abraham, down 
to the red-coated sentry who challenges you upon the 
ramparts, everything tells of a conquered province, and 


of the time, not so very far distant either, when the lilies 
of France occupied the place from which the flag of Eng- 
land now so proudly waves. 

I spent a few days at Russell's Hotel, which was very 
full, in spite of the rats. In Canadian hotels people are 
very sociable, and, as many during the season make Rus- 
sell's their abode, the conversation was tolerably general 
at dinner. Many of the members of parliament lived 
there, and they used to teil very racy and amusing stories 
against each other. I heard one which was considered 
a proof of the truth of the saying, that " the tailor makes 

the gentleman." A gentleman called on a Mr. M , 

who had been appointed to a place in the government, 
and in due time he went to return the visit. Meeting an 
Irishman in the street, he asked, "Where does Mr. 
* Smith' live ?" — " It's no use your going there." " I 
want to know where he lives, do you know ?" — " Faith, I 

do; but it's no use your going there.*' Mr. M , 

now getting angry, said, " I don't ask you for your 
advice, I simply want to know where Mr. * Smith' lives." 
— " Well, spalpeen, he lives down that court ; but I tell 
ye it's no use your going there, for I've just been there 
myself, and his got a manr It is said that the discom- 
fited senator returned home and bought a new fiat ! 

Passing out by the citadel, the Plains of Abraham, 
now a race-course, are entered upon; the battle-field 
being denoted by a simple monument bearing the inscrip- 
tion " Here died Wolfe victorious^' Beyond this, three 
miles from the city, is Spencer- Wood, the residence of 
the Governor-General. It is beautifully situated, though 
the house is not spacious, and is rather old-fashioned. 

272 LORD ELGIN. Chap. XII. 

The ball-room, however, built by Lord Elgin, is a beau- 
tiful room, very large, admirably proportioned, and 
chastely decorated. Here a kind of vice-regal court is 
held; and during the latter months of Lord Elgin's 
tenure of office, Spencer- Wood was the scene of a con- 
tinued round of gaiety and hospitality. Lord Elgin was 
considered extremely popular; the Reciprocity Treaty, 
supposed to confer great benefits on the country, was 
passed during his administration, and the resources of 
Canada were prodigiously developed, and its revenue 
greatly increased. Of his popularity at Quebec there 
could be no question. He was attached to the Canadians, 
with whom he mixed with the greatest kindness and 
affability. Far from his presence being considered a re- 
straint at an evening party, the entrance of the Governor 
and his suite was always the signal for increased animation 
and liveliness. 

The stifihess which was said to pervade in former times 
the parties at Spencer- Wood was entirely removed by 
him ; and in addition to large balls and dinner-parties, at 
the time I was at Quebec he gave evening parties to 
eighty or a hundred persons twice a-week, when the 
greatest sociability prevailed ; and in addition to dancing, 
which was kept up on these occasions till two or three in 
the morning, games such as French blindman's-buff were 
introduced, to the great delight of both old and young. 
The pleasure with which this innovation was received by 
the lively and mirth-loving Canadians showed the differ- 
ence in character between themselves and the American 
ladies. I was afterwards at a party at New York, where 
a gentleman who had been at Spencer-Wood attempted 

Chap. XII. LORD ELGIN. 273 

to introduce one of these games, but it was received with 
gravity, and proved a signal failure. Lord Elgin cer- 
tainly attained that end which is too frequently lost sight 
of in society — ^making people enjoy themselves. Pei> 
sonally, I may speak with much gratitude of his kindness 
during a short but very severe illness with which I was 
attacked while at Spencer- Wood. Glittering epaulettes, 
scarlet uniforms, and muslin dresses whirled before my 
dizzy eyes — I lost for a moment the power to articulate — 
a deathly chill came over me — I shivered, staggered, and 
would have fallen had I not been supported. I was 
carried upstairs, feeling sure that the terrible pestilence 
which I had so carefully avoided had at length seized me. 
The medical man arrived at two in the morning, and 
ordered the remedies which were usually employed at 
Quebec, a complete envelope of mustard plasters, a pro- 
fusion of blankets, and as much ice as I could possibly 
eat. The physician told me that cholera had again 
appeared in St. Roch, where I, strangely enough, had 
been on two successive afternoons. So great was the 
panic caused by the cholera, that, wherever it was neces- 
sary to account for my disappearance. Lord Elgin did 
so by saying that I was attacked with ague. The means 
used were blessed by a kind Providence to the removal 
of the malady, and in two or three days I was able to go 
about again, though I suffered severely for several sub- 
sequent weeks. 

From Spencer-^Vood I went to the house of the Hon. 
John Ross, from whom and from Mrs. Ross I received 
the greatest kindness — kindness which should make my 
recollections of Quebec lastingly agreeable. Mr. Ross's 

N 3 

274 DR. MOUNTAIN. Chap. XII. 

public situation as President of the Legislative Council 
gave me an opportunity of seeing many persons whose 
acquaintance I should not have made under other circum- 
stances ; and as parties were given every evening but one 
while I was at Quebec, to which I was invited with my 
hosts, I saw as much of its society as under ordinary cir- 
cumstances I should have seen in a year. No position is 
pleasanter than that of an English stranger in Canada, 
with good introductions. 

I received much kindness also from Dr. Mountain, the 
venerable Protestant Bishop of Quebec. He is well 
known as having, when Bishop of Montreal, under- 
taken an adventurous journey to the Red River settle- 
ments, for the purposes of ordination and confirmation. 
He performed the journey in an open canoe managed 
by French voyageurs and Indians. They went up the 
Ottawa, then by wild lakes and rivers into Lake Huron, 
through the labyrinth of islands in the Georgian Bay, 
and by the Sault Sainte Marie into Lake Superior, then 
an almost untraversed sheet of deep, dreary water. 
Thence they went up the Rainy River, and by almost 
unknown streams and lakes to their journey's end. They 
generally rested at night, lighting large fires by their 
tents, and were tormented by venomous insects. At the 
Mission settlements on the Red River the Bishop was 
received with great delight by the Christianized Indians, 
who, in neat clothing and with books in their hands, 
assembled at the little church. The number of persons 
confirmed was 846, and there were likewise two ordina- 
tions. The stay of the Bishop at the Red River was only 
three weeks, and he accomplished his enterprising journey 

Chap. XII. DR. MOUNTAIN. 275 

of two thousand miles in six weeks. He is one of the 
most unostentatious persons possible ; it was not until he 
presented me with a volume containing an account of his 
visitation that I was aware that he was the prelate with 
the account of whose zeal and Christian devotedness I had 
long been familiar. He is now an aged man, and his 
countenance tells of the "love which looks kindly, and 
the wisdom which looks soberly, on all things." 

276 QUEBEC. Chap, XIII. 


The House of CommonB — Canadian gallantry — The constitution — 
Mr. Hincks — The ex-rebel — Parties and leaders — A street-row — 
Repeated disappointments — The ** habitans '* — Their houses and 
their virtues — A stationary people — Progress and its eflfects — 
Montmorencl — The natural staircase — The Indian summer — 
Lorette — The old people — Beauties of Quebec — The John 
Mvmn — Fear and its consequences — A gloomy journey. 

One of the sights of Quebec — to me decidedly the most 
interesting one — was the House of Assembly. The Legis- 
lature were burned out of their house at Montreal, and 
more recently out of a very handsome one at Quebec — it 
is to be hoped this august body will be more fortunate at 
Toronto, the present place of meeting. The temporary 
place of sitting at Quebec seemed to me perfectly adapted 
for the purposes of hearing, seeing, and speaking. 

It is a spacious apartment, with deep galleries, which, 
hold about five hundred, round it, which were to Quebec 
what the Opera and the club-houses are to London. In 
fact, these galleries were crowded every night ; and cer- 
tainly, when I was there, fully one half of their occupants 
were ladies, who could see and be seen. The presence of 
ladies may have an effect in preventing the use of very 
intemperate language ; and though it is maliciously said 
that some of the younger members speak more for the 
galleries than the house, and though some gallant indi- 


vidual may occasionally step up stairs to restore a truant 
handkerchief or boa to the fair owner, the distractions 
caused by their presence are very inconsiderable, and the 
arrangements for their comfort are a great reflection 
upon the miserable latticed hole to which lady listeners 
are condemned in the English House of Commons. I must 
remark, also, that the house was well warmed and ven- 
tilated, without the aid of alternating siroccos and north 
winds. The Speaker s chair, on a dais and covered with 
a canopy, was facing us, in which reclined the Speaker in 
his robes. In front of him was a table, at which sat two 
black-robed clerks, and on which a huge mace reposed ; 
and behind him was the reporters' gallery, where the 
gentlemen of the press seemed to be most comfortably 
accommodated. There was a large open space in front 
of this table, extending to the bar, at which were seated 
the messengers of the house, and the Sergeant-at-arms 
with his sword. On either side of this open space were 
four rows of handsome desks, and morocco seats, to ac- 
commodate two members each, who sat as most amiable 
Gemini. The floor was richly carpeted, and the desks 
covered with crimson cloth, and, with the well-managed 
flood of light, the room was very complete. 

The Canadian Constitution is as nearly a transcript of 
our own as anything colonial can be. The Governor 
can do no wrong — he must have a responsible cabinet 
taken from the members of the Legislature — his adminis- 
tration must have a working majority, as in England — and 
he must bow to public opinion by changing his advisers, 
when the representatives of the people lose confidence in 
the Government. The Legislative Council represents 

278 QUEBEC. Chap. XIH. 

our House of Peers, and the Legislative Assembly, or 
Provincial Parliament, our House of Commons. The 
Upper House is appointed by the Crown, under the advice 
of the ministry of the day ; but as a clamour has been 
raised against it as yielding too readily to the demands 
of the Lower House, a measure has been brought in for 
making its members elective for a term of years. If this 
change were carried, coupled with others on which it 
would not interest the English reader to dwell, it would 
bring about an approximation of the Canadian Constitu* 
tion to that of the United States. 

On one night on which I had the pleasure of attending 
the House, the subject under discussion was the Romish 
holidays, as connected with certain mercantile transac- 
tions. It sounds dry enough, but, as the debate was 
turned into an extremely interesting religious discussion, 
it was well worth hearing, and the crowded galleries re- 
mained in a state of quiescence. 

Mr. Hincks, the late Premier, was speaking when we 
went in. He is by no means eloquent, but very pointed 
in his observations, and there is an amount of logical 
sequence in his speaking which is worthy of imitation 
elsewhere. He is a remarkable man, and will probably 
play a prominent part in the future political history of 
Canada."*^ He is the son of a Presbyterian minister at 
Cork, and emigrated to Toronto in 1832. During Lord 
Durham's administration he became editor of the Ex- 

* This prognostication is not likely to be realised, as the late Sir 
W. Molesworth has appointed 'i&x, Hincks to the goyemorship of Bar- 
badoes. If the new governor possesses pAnciple as well as talent, this 
acknowledgment of colonial merit is a step in the right direction. 


aminer newspaper, and entered the Parliament of the 
United Provinces in 1841. He afterwards filled the 
important position of Inspector-General of Finances, and 
finally became Prime Minister. His administration was, 
however, overturned early in 1854, and sundry grave 
charges were brought against him. He spoke in favour 
of the abolition of the privileges conceded to Romish 
holidays, and was followed by several French Canadians, 
two of them of the Rouge party, who spoke against the 
measure, one of them so eloquently as to remind me of 
the historical days of the Girondists. 

Mr. Lyon Mackenzie, who led the rebellion which was 
so happily checked at Toronto, and narrowly escaped 
condign punishment, followed, and diverged from the 
question of promissory notes to the Russian war and 
other subjects ; and when loud cries of " Question, ques- 
tion, order, order !" arose, he tore up his notes, and sat 
down abruptly in a most theatrical manner, amid bursts 
of laughter from both floor and galleries ; for he appears 
to be the privileged buffoon of the House. 

The appearance of the House is rather imposing ; the 
members behave with extraordinary decorum ; and to 
people accustomed to the noises and unseemly inter- 
ruptions which characterise the British House of Com- 
mons, the silence and order of the Canadian House are very 
agreeable.* The members seemed to give fiiU attention 

* In fustice to the Canadian Parliament, I must insert the following 
extract from the ' Toronto Globe,* from which it will appear that there 
are very disgraceful exceptions to this ordinarily decorous conduct : — 

" Mr. Mackenzie attempted to speak, and held the floor for two or three 
minutes, although his voice was inaudible from the kicking of desks, 
caterwaulings, and snatches of songs from various parts of the house." 

280 QUEBEC. Chap. XIII^ 

to the debate ; very few were writing, and none were 
reading anything except Parliamentary papers, and no 
speaker was interrupted except on one occasion. There 
was extremely little walking about ; but I observed one 
gentleman, a notorious exquisite, cross the floor several 
times, apparently with no other object than that of 
displaying his fine person in bowing profoundly to the 
Speaker. The gentlemanly appearance of the members, 
taken altogether, did not escape my notice. 

Sir Allan M*Nab, the present Premier, is the head 
of a coalition ministry ; fortunately, it is not necessary 
to offer any remarks upon its policy ; and Canada, follow- 
ing the example of the mother-country, submits quietly 
to a coalition. The opposition, which is formed of the 
Liberal party, is seated opposite the Government, fronted 
by Mr. Lyon Mackenzie, who gives a wavering adher- 
ence to every party in succession, and is often indig- 
nantly disavowed by all. The Liberals of Upper 
Canada are ably led by Mr. George Brown, who excels 
in a highly lucid, powerful, and perspicuous course of 
reasoning, which cannot fail to produce an effect. 

Then there is the Rouge party, led by the member for 
Montreal, which is principally composed of very versatile 
and enthusiastic Frenchmen of rather indefinite opinions 
and aims, professing a creed which appears a curious 
compound of Republicanism and Rationalism. The word 
Latitudinarianism defines it best. There are 130 mem- 
bers, divided into numerous " ists " and " ites." Most of 
the members for Lower Canada are French, and, conse- 
quently, the Romish party is a very powerful one in the 
House. Taken as a whole, the members are loyal, and 


have proved their attachment to England by a vote of 
20,000/. for the Patriotic Fund. 

I think that all who are in the habit of reading the 
debates will allow that the speaking in the House will 
bear comparison with that in our House of Commons ; 
and if some of the younger members in attempting the 
sublime occasionally attain the ridiculous, and mistake 
extravagance of expression for greatness of thought, these 
are faults which time and criticism will remedy. Canada 
is a great and prosperous country, and its Legislative 
Assembly is very creditable to so young a community. 
Bribery, corruption, and place-hunting are alleged against 
this body; but as these vices are largely developed in 
England, it would be bad taste to remark upon them, 
particularly as the most ardent correctors of abuses now 
reluctantly allow that they are inseparable from popular 
assemblies. It is needless to speak of the Upper House, 
which, as has been sarcastically remarked of our House 
of Peers, is merely a " High Court of Registry " — it re- 
mains to be seen whether an elective chamber would pos- 
sess greater vitality and independence. 

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is a French- 
man, and French and English are used indiscriminately 
in debate. Parliamentary notices and papers are also 
printed in both languages. 

It was a cold, gloomy October morning, a cold east 
wind rustled the russet leaves, and a heavy, dry fog 
enveloped Point Diamond, when I left the bustle of 
Quebec for a quiet drive to Montmorenci in a light 
waggon with a very spirited little horse, a young lady 

282 aUSBEC. Chap. Xin. 

acting as charioteer. The little animal was very im- 
petuousy and rattled down the steep, crowded streets of 
Quebec at a pace which threatened to entangle onr wheels 
with those of numerous carts driven by apathetic habitansy 
who were perfectly indifferent to the admonitions *' Prenez 
garde " and ^* Place auz dames" delivered in beseeching 
tones. We passed down a steep street, and throu^ 
Falace-gate, into the district of St. Roch, teeming with 
Irish and dirt, for I fear it is a fact that, wherever you 
have the first, you invariably have the last. Beyond this 
there was a space covered with mud and sawdust, where 
two habitans were furiously quarrelling. One sprang 
upon the other like a hyena, knocked him down, and then 
attempted to bite and strangle him, amid the applause of 
numerous spectators. 

Leaving Quebec behind, we drove for seven miles along 
a road in sight of the lesser branch of the St Lawrence, 
which has on the other side the green and fertile island of 
Orleans. The houses along this road are so numerous as 
to present the appearance of a village the whole way. 
Frenchmen who arrive here in summer can scarcely be- 
lieve that they are not in their own sunny land; the 
external characteristics of the country are so exactly 
similar. These dwellings are large, whitewashed, and 
many-windowed, and are always surrounded with bal- 
conies. The doors are reached by flights of steps, in order 
that they may be above the level of the snow in winter. 
The rooms are clean, but large and desolate-looking, and 
are generally ornamented with caricatures of the Virgin 
and uncouth representations of miracles. The women 


dress in the French style, and wear large straw hats out of 
doors, which were the source of constant disappointments 
to me, for I always expected to see a young, if not a 
pretty, face under a broad brim, and these females were 
remarkably ilUfavoured ; their complexions hardened, 
wrinkled, and bronzed, from the effects of hard toil, and. 
the extremes of heat and cold. I heard the hum of 
spinning-wheels from many of the houses, for these in- 
dustrious women spin their household linen, and the gray 
homespun in which the men are clothed. The furniture 
IS antique, and made of oak, and looks as if it had 
been handed down from generation to generatiou. The 
men, largely assisted by the females, cultivate small 
plots of ground, and totally disregard all modern im- 
provements. These French towns and villages improve 
but little. Popery, that great antidote to social pro- 
gress^ is the creed universally professed, and generally 
the only building of any pretensions is a large Romish 
church with two lofty spires of polished tin. Education 
is not much prized ; the desires of the simple habitans 
are limited to the attainment of a competence for life, 
and this their rudely-tilled farms supply them with. 
Few emigrants make this part of Canada even a tem- 
porary resting-place ; the severity of the climate, the lan- 
guage, the religion, and the laws, are all against them^ 
hence, though a professor of a purer faith may well 
blush to confess it, the vices which emigrants bring with 
them are unknown. These peasants are among the most 
harmless people under the sun ; they are moral, sober, 
and contented, and zealous in the observances of their 


erroneous creed. Their children divide the land, and, as 
each prefers a piece of soil adjoining the road or river, 
strips of soil may occasibnally be seen only a few yards 
in width. They strive after happiness rather than ad- 
vancement, and who shall say that they are unsuccessiiil 
>in their aim ? As their fathers lived, so they live ; each 
generation has the simplicity and superstition of the pre-* 
ceding one. In the autumn they gather in their scanty 
harvest, and in the long winter they spin and dance round 
their stove-sides. On Sundays and saints' days they as- 
semble in crowds in their churches, dressed in the style 
of a hundred years since. Their wants and wishes are 
few, their manners are courteous and unsuspicious, they 
hold their faith with a blind and implicit credulity, and 
on summer evenings sing the songs of France as their 
fathers sang them in bygone days on the smiling banks, of 
the rushing Rhone. 

The road along which the dwellings of these small 
farmers lie is macadamised, and occasionally a cross 
stands by the roadside, at which devotees may be seen to 
prostrate themselves. There is a quiet, lethargic, old- 
world air about the country, contrasting strangely with 
the bustling, hurrying, restless progress of Upper Canada. 
Though the condition of the habitans is extremely un- 
profitable to themselves, it affords a short rest to the 
thinking and observing faculties of the stranger, over- 
strained as they are with taking in and contemplating the 
railroad progress of things in the New World. 

While we admire and wonder at the vast material 
progress of Western Canada and the North-western 


States of the Union, considerations fraught with alarm 
will force themselves upon us. We think that great 
progress is being made in England, but, without having 
travelled in America, it is scarcely possible to believe 
what the Anglo-Saxon race is performing upon a new soil. 
In America we do not meet with factory operatives, seam- 
stresses, or clerks overworked and underpaid, toiling their 
lives away in order to keep body and soul together ; but 
we have people of all classes who could obtain compe- 
tence and often affluence by moderate exertions, working 
harder than slaves — sacrificing home enjoyments, pleasure, 
and health itself to the one desire of the acquisition of 
wealth. Daring speculations fail; the struggle in un« 
natural competition with men of large capital, or dis- 
honourable dealings, wears out at last the overtasked 
frame — ^life is spent in a whirl— -death summons them, 
and finds them unprepared. Everybody who has any 
settled business is overworked. Voices of men crying for 
relaxation are heard from every quarter, yet none dare to 
pause in this race which they so madly run, in which 
happiness and mental and bodily health are among the 
least of their considerations. All are spurred on by the 
real or imaginary necessities of their position, driven along 
their headlong course by avarice, ambition, or eager com- 

The Falls of Montmorenci, which we reached after a 
drive of eight miles, are beautiful in the extreme, and, 
as the day was too cold for picnic parties, we had them 
all to ourselves. There is no great body of water, but 
the river takes an unbroken leap of 280 feet from a black 

286 MONTHOEENCI. Chap, tttt 

narrow gorge. The scathed black clifi descend in one 
sweep to the St Lawrence, in fine contrast to the snowy 
whiteness of the fall. Montmorenci gaye me greater 
sensations of pleasure than Niagara. There are no 
mills, museums, guides, or curiosity-shops, Whaterer 
there is of beauty bears the fair impress oi its Creator's ' 
band ; and if these Falls are 'beautiful on a late October 
day, when a chill east wind was howling through leafless 
trees looming through a cold, grey fog, what must they 
be in the burst of spring or the glowing luxuriance of 

We drore back for some distance, and entered a small 
cabaret, where some women were diligently engaged in 
ginning, and some men were superintending with intense 
interest the preparation of some saupe maigre. Their 
patois was scarcely intelligible, and a boy whom we took as 
our guide spoke no English. After encountering some 
high fences and swampy ground, we came to a narrow 
rocky pathway in a wood, with bright green, moss- \ 

covered trees, stones, and earth. On descending a rocky \ 

bank we came to the " natural staircase," where the j 

rapid Montmorenci forces its way through a bed of lime- | 

stone, the broken but extremely regular appearance of | 

tlie layers being very much like wide steps. The scene 
at this place is wildly beautiful. The river, frequently i 

only a few feet in width, sometimes foams furiously along 
between precipices covered with trees, and bearing the 
mark^ of years of attrition ; then buries itself in dark 
gulfs, or rests quiescent for a moment in still black pools, 
before it reaches its final leap. 

Chap. XIII. LORETTE. 287 

The day before I left Quebec I went to the romantic 
falls of Lorette, about thirteen miles from the city. It 
was a beauteous day. I should have called it oppress- 
ively warm, but that the air was fanned by a cool west 
wind. The Indian summer had come at last ; ^^ the Saga- 
mores of the tribes had lighted their council-fires" on the 
western prairies. What would we not give for such a 
season ! It is the rekindling of summer, but without its 
heat — ^it is autumn in its glories, but without its gloom. 
The air is soft like the breath of May; everything is 
veiled in a soft pure haze, and the sky is of a faint and 
misty blue. 

A mysterious fascination seemed to bind us to St. 
Roch, for we kept missing our way and getting into 
^^ streams as black as Styx." But at length the city of 
Quebec, with its green glacis and frowning battlements, 
was left behind, and we drove through fiat country 
abounding in old stone dwelling-houses, old farms, and 
large fields of stubble. We neared the blue hills, and 
put up our horses in the Indian village of Lorette. Beau- 
tiftd Lorette ! I must not describe, for I cannot, how its 
river escapes from under the romantic bridge in a broad 
sheet of milk-white foam, and then, contracted between 
sullen barriers of rock, seeks the deep shade of the pine- 
clad precipices, and hastens to lose itself there* It is 
perfection, and beauty, and peace ; and the rocky walks 
upon its forest-covered crags might be in Switzerland. 

Being deserted by the gentlemen of the party, my fair 
young companion and I found our way to Lorette, which 
is a large village built by government for the Indians ; 

288 THB INDIANS. Chap. XIH. 

but by intermarrying witb tbe French they have lost 
nearly all their distinctiye characteristics, and the uext 
generation will not even speak the Indian language. Here, 
as in every village in Lower Canada, there is a large 
Romish church, ornamented with gaudy paintings- We 
visited some of the squaws, who wear the Indian dress, 
and we made a few purchases. We were afterwards 
beset by Indian boys with bows and arrows of clumsy 
construction ; but they took excellent aim, incited by 
the reward of coppers which we offered to them. It is 
grievous to see the remnants of an ancient race in such a 
degraded state ; the more so as I believe that there is no 
intellectual inferiority as an obstacle to their improve- 
ment. I saw some drawings by an Indian youth which 
evinced considerable talent ; one in particular, a likeness 
of Lord Elgin, was admirably executed. 

I have understood that there is scarcely a greater 
difference between these half-breeds and the warlike 
tribes of Central America, than between tiiem and the 
Christian Indians of the Red River settlements. There 
are about fourteen thousand Indians in Canada, few of 
them in a state of great poverty, for they possess annui- 
ties arising from the sale of their lands. They have no 
incentives to exertion, and spend their time in shooting, 
fishing, and drinking spirits in taverns, where they speedily 
acquire the vices of the white men without their habits of 
industry and enterprise. They have no idols, and seldom 
enter into hostile opposition to Christianity, readily ex- 
changing the worship of the Great Spirit for its tenets, as 
far as convenient. It is very difficult, however, to arouse 


them to a sense of sin, or to any idea of the importance 
of the world to come ; but at the same time, in no part 
of the world have missionary labours been more blessed 
than at the Red River settlements. Great changes have 
passed before their eyes. Year, as it succeeds year, 
sees them driven farther west, as their hunting-grounds 
are absorbed by the insatiate white races. The twang 
of the Indian bow, and the sharp report of the Indian 
rifle, are exchanged for the clink of the lumberer's 
axe and the "g'lang" of the sturdy settler. The 
corn waves in luxuriant crops over land once covered 
with the forest haunts of the moose, and the waters 
of the lakes over which the red man paddled in his 
bark canoe are now ploughed by crowded steamers. 
Where the bark dwellings of his fathers stood, the 
locomotive darts away on its iron road, and the help- 
less Indian looks on aghast at the power and resources of 
the pale-faced invaders of his soil. 

The boat by which I was to leave Quebec was to sail 
on the afternoon of the day on which I visited Lorette, 
but was detained till the evening by the postmaster- 
general, when a heavy fog came on, which prevented its 
departure till the next morning. The small-pox had 
broken out in the city, and rumours of cholera had 
reached and alarmed the gay inhabitants of St Louis. 
I never saw terror so unrestrainedly developed as 
among some ladies on hearing of the return of the 
pestilence. One of them went into hysterics, and be- 
came so seriously ill that it was considered necessary 
for her to leave Quebec the same evening. In con- 
sequence of the delay of the boat, it was on a Sunday 



morning that I bade adieu to Quebec. I had never 
travelled on a Sunday before, and should not have 
done so on this occasion had it not been a matter of 
necessity. I am happy to state that no boats run on the 
St. Lawrence on the Sabbath, and the enforced sailing 
of the John Mumv caused a great deal of grumbling 
among the stewards and crew. The streets were 
thronged with people going to early mass, and to > a 
special service held to avert the heavy judgments which 
it was feared were impending over the city. The boat 
was full, and many persons who were flying from the 
cholera had slept on board. 

I took a regretful farewell of my friends, and with 
them of beautiful Quebec. I had met with much of 
kindness and hospitality, but still I must confess that 
the excessive gaiety and bustle of the city exercise a 
depressing influence. People appear absorbed by the 
fleeting pleasures of the hour ; the attractions of this 
life seem to overbalance the importance of the life to 
come ; and among the poor there is a large amount of sin 
and sorrow — too many who enter the world without a 
blessing, and depart from it without a hope. The bright 
sun of the Indian summer poured down its flood of light 
upon the castled steep, and a faint blue mist was diflused 
over the scene of beauty. Long undulating lines showed 
where the blue hills rose above the green island of 
Orleans, and slept in the haze of that gorgeous season. 
Not a breath of wind stirred the heavy folds of the flag 
of England on the citadel, or ruffled the sleeping St. 
Lawrence, or the shadows of the countless ships on its 
surface; and the chimes of the bells of the Romish 

CtoAP. Xin. THE " JOHN MUNN." 291 

churches floated gently over the water. Such a momiDg 
I have seldom seen, and Quebec lay basking in beauty. 
Surely that morning's sun shone upon no fairer city ! 
The genial rays of that autumn sun were typical of the 
warm kind hearts I was leaving behind, who had wel- 
comed a stranger to their hospitable homes ; and, as the 
bell rang, and the paddles revolved in the still deep 
water, a feeling of sorrow came over my heart when I 
reflected that the friendly voices might never again sound 
in my ear, and that the sunshine which was then glitter- 
ing upon the fortress-city might, to my eyes, glitter upon 
it no more. 

The John Munn was a very handsome boat, fitted 
up with that prodigality which I have elsewhere de- 
scribed as characteristic of the American steamers; 
but in the course of investigation I came upon die 
steerage, or that part of the middle floor which is de- 
voted to the poorer class of emigrants, of whom five 
hundred had landed at Quebec only the day before. 
The spectacle here was extreiaely annoying, for men, 
women, and children were crowded together in an ill- 
ventilated space, with kettles, saucepans, blankets, bed- 
ding, and large blue boxes. There was a bar for th^ 
sale of spirits, which, I fear, was very much, frequented^ 
for towards night there were sounds Of swes^ring, fight- 
ing, and scuffling, proceeding from this objectionable 

A day-boat was such a rare occurrence that some of 
the citizens of Quebec took the journey merely to make 
acquaintance with the beauties of their own river. We 
passed the Heights of Abraham, and Wolfe's Cove, 

o 2 


famous in history ; wooded slopes and beautiful villas ; 
the Chaudiere river, and its pine-hung banks; but I 
was so ill that even the beauty of the St. Lawrence 
could not detain me in the saloon, and I went down 
into the ladies' cabin, where I spent the rest of the 
day on a sofa wrapped in blankets. A good many 
of the ladies came down stairs to avoid some quad- 
rilles which a French Canadian lady was playing, and 

a friend of mine. Colonel P , having told some 

one that I had had the cholera, there was a good 
deal of mysterious buzzing in consequence, of which I 
only heard a few observations, such as — " How very im- 
prudent!" "How very wrong to come into a public 
conveyance ! " " Just as we were trying to leave it 
behind too!" But I was too ill to be amused, even 
when one lady went so far as to remove the blanket 
to look at my face. There was a very pale and 
nervous-looking young lady lying on a sofa opposite, 
staring fixedly at me. Suddenly she got up, and 
asked me if 1 were very ill ? I replied that I had 
been so. "She 's had the cholera, poor thing!" the 
stewardess unfortunately observed. " The cholera 1 " 
she said, with an afirighted look ; and, hastily putting on 
her bonnet, vanished from the cabin, and never came 
down again. She had left Quebec because of the cholera, 
having previously made inquiries as to whether any one 
had died of it in the John Munn; and now, being 
brought, as she fancied, into contact with it, her imagina- 
tion was so strongly affected that she was soon taken 
seriously ill, and brandy and laudanum were in requi- 
sition. So great was the fear of contagion, that, though 



the boat was so full that many people had to sleep on 
sofas, no one would share a state-room with me. 

We were delayed by fog, and did not reach Montreal 
till one in the morning. I found Montreal as warm and 
damp as it had been cold and bracing on my first visit ; 
but the air was not warmer than the welcome which I 
received. Kind and tempting was the invitation to pro- 
long my stay at the See House ; enticing was the prospect 
offered me of a visit to a seigneurie on the Ottawa ; and 
it was with very great reluctance that, after a sojourn of 
only one day, I left this abode of refinement and hospi- 
tality, and the valued friends who had received me with 
so much kindness, for a tedious journey to New York. 
I left the See House at five o'clock on the last day of 
October, so ill that I could scarcely speak or stand. It 
was pitch-dark, and the rain was pouring in torrents. 
The high wind blew out the lamp which was held at the 
door ; an unpropitious commencement of a journey. 
Something was wrong with the harness; the uncouth 
vehicle was nearly upset backwards ; the steam ferry- 
boat was the height of gloom, heated to a stifling ex- 
tent, and full of people with oil-skin coats and dripping 
umbrellas. We crossed the rushing St. Lawrence just 
as .the yellow gas-lights of Montreal were struggling 
with the pale, murky dawn of an autumn morning, 
and reached the cars on the other side before it was 
light enough to see objects distinctly. Here the ser- 
vant who had been kindly sent with me left me, and 
the few hours which were to elapse before I should join 
ray friends seemed to present insurmountable diflSculties. 
The people in the cars were French, the names of the 


stations were French, and ^^ Prenez-garde de la locomo- 
Hve I " denoted the crossings. How the laissez-faire habits 
of the habitans must 1>e outraged by the clatter of a 
steam-engine passing their dwellings at a speed of thirty- 
five miles an hour I Yet these very habitans were talking 
in the most unconcerned manner in French about a rail- 
way accident in Upper Canada, by which forty-eight per- 
sons were killed ! After a journey of two hours I reached 
Rouse's Point, and, entering a handsome steamer on Lake 
Champlain, took leave of the British dominions. 

Before re-entering the territory of the stars and stripes^ 
I will offer a few concluding remarks on Canada. 



Concluding remarks on Canada — Territory — Climate — Capabilities — 
Railways and canals — Advantages for emigrants — Kotices of 
emigration — Government — The franchise — Revenue — Popula- 
tion — Religion — Education — The press — Literature — Observa- 
. tions in conclusion. 

The increasing interest which attaches to this noble colony 
fully justifies me in devoting a chapter to a fuller account 
of its state and capabilities than has yet been given here. 

Canada extends from Gaspe, on the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence, to Lake Superior. Its shores are washed by the 
lakes Huron, Erie, and Ontario, and by the river St. 
Lawrence as far as the 45th parallel of latitude ; from 
thence the river flows through the centre of the province 
to the sea. Canada is bounded on the west and south by 
the Great Lakes and the United States ; to the east by 
New Brunswick and the ocean ; and to the north by the 
Hudson's Bay territory, though its limits in this direction 
are by no means accurately defined. Canada is but a 
small portion of the vast tract of country known under 
the name of British America, the area of which is a ninth 
part of the globe, and is considerably larger than that of 
the United States, being 2,630,163,200 acres. 

Canada contains 17,939,000 occupied acres of land, 
only 7,300,000 of which are cultivated ; and about 
137,000,000 acres are still unoccupied. Nearly the 

200 CANADA. Chap. XIV. 

whole of this vast territory was originally covered with 
forests, and from the more distant districts timber still 
forms a most profitable article of export ; but wherever 
the land is cleared it is found to be fertile in an uncom- 
mon degree. It is very deficient in coal, but in the 
neighbourhood of Lake Superior mineral treasures of 
great value have been discovered to abound. 

Very erroneous ideas prevail in England on the subject 
of the Canadian climate. By many persons it is sup- 
posed that the country is for ever "locked in regions 
of thick-ribbed ice," and that skating and sleighing are 
favourite summer diversions of the inhabitants. Yet, on 
the contrary, Lower Canada, or that part of the country 
nearest to the mouth of the St. Lawrence, has a summer 
nearly equalling in heat those of tropical climates. Its 
winter is long and severe, frequently lasting from the 
beginning of December until April ; but, if the ther- 
mometer stands at 35° below zero in January, it marks 
90° in the shade in June. In the neighbourhood of 
Quebec the cold is not mucli exceeded by that within the 
polar circle, but the dryness of the air is so great that it 
is now strongly recommended for those of consumptive 
tendencies. I have seen a wonderful eflFect produced in 
the early stages of pulmonary disorders by a removal from 
the damp, variable climate of Europe to the dry, bracing 
atmosphere of Lower Canada. Spring is scarcely known ; 
the transition from winter to summer is very rapid ; but 
the autumn or fall is a long and very delightful season. 
It is not necessary to dwell further upon the Lower 
Canadian climate, as, owing to circumstances hereafter 
to be explained, few emigrants in any class of life 


make the Lower Province more than a temporary resting- 

From the eastern coast to the western boundary the 
variations in climate are very considerable. The penin- 
sula of Canada West enjoys a climate as mild as that of 
the state of New York. The mean temperature, taken 
from ten years' observation, was 44°, and the thermometer 
rarely falls lower than 11° below zero, while the heat in 
summer is not oppressive. The peach and vine mature 
their fruit in the neighbourhood of Lake Ontario, and 
tobacco is very successfully cultivated on the peninsula 
between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. It seems that 
Upper Canada, free from the extremes of heat and cold» 
is intended to receive a European population. Emigrants 
require to become acclimatised, which they generally are 
by an attack of ague, moi*e or less severe ; but the country 
is extraordinarily healthy; with the exception of occa- 
sional visitations of cholera, epidemic diseases- are un- 
known, and the climate is very favourable to the duration 
of human life. 

The capabilities of Canada are only now beginning to 
be appreciated. It has been principally known for its 
vast exports of timber, but these constitute a very small 
part of its wealth. Both by soil and climate Upper 
Canada is calculated to afford a vast and annually- 
increasing field for agricultural and pastoral pursuits. 
Wheat, barley, potatoes, turnips, maize, hops, and 
tobacco, can all be grown in perfection. Canada already 
exports large quantities of wheat and flour of a very 
superior description ; and it is stated that in no country of 
the world is there so much wheat grown, in proportion to 

o 3 

298 CANADA. Chap. XIV. 

the population and the area under cultivation, as in that 
part of the country west of Kingston. The grain-growing 
district is almost without limit, extending as it does along 
the St. Lawrence, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario, to 
Windsor, with a vast expanse of country to the north 
and west. The hops, which are an article of recent cul- 
tivation, are of very superior quality, and have hitherto 
been perfectly free from blight. 

Vast as are the capabilities of Canada for agricultural 
pursuits, she also offers great facilities for the employ- 
ment of capital in manufacturing industry, though it is 
questionable whether it is desirable to divert labour into 
these channels in a young country where it is dear and 
scarce. The streams which intersect the land afford an 
unlimited and very economical source of power, and have 
already been used to a considerable extent. Lower 
Canada and the shores of the Ottawa afford enormous 
supplies of white pine, and the districts about Lake Supe- 
rior contain apparently inexhaustible quantities of ore, 
which yields a very large percentage of copper. We 
have thus in Canada about 1400 miles of territory, per- 
haps the most fertile and productive ever brought under 
the hands of the cultivator ; and as though Providence 
had* especially marked out this portion of the New World 
as a field for the enterprise of the European races, its 
natural facilities for transit and communication are nearly 
unequalled. The Upper Lakes, the St. Lawrence, the 
Ottawa, and the Saguenay, besides many rivers of lesser 
note, are so many natural highways for the conveyance 
of produce of every description from the most distant 
parts of the interior to the Atlantic Ocean. Without 


these natural facilities Canada could never have pro- 
gressed to the extraordinary extent which she has already 

Great as these adventitious advantages are, they have 
been further increased by British energy and enterprise. 
By means of ship-canals, formed to avoid the obstructions 
to navigation caused by the rapids of the St. Lawrence, 
Niagara, and the Sault Sainte Marie, small vessels can 
load at Liverpool and discharge their cargoes on the most 
distant shores of Lake Superior. On the Welland canal 
alone, which connects Lake Erie with Lake Ontario, the 
tolls taken in 1853 amounted to more than 65,000/. Li 
the same year 19,631 passengers and 1,075,218 tons of 
shipping passed through it : the traffic on the other canals 
is in like proportion, and is monthly on the increase. But 
an extensive railway system, to facilitate direct commu* 
nication with the Atlantic at all seasons of the year, is 
paving the way for a further and rapid development of 
the resources of Canada, and for a vast increase in her 
material prosperity. Already the Great Western Com- 
pany has formed a line from Windsor, opposite Detroit, 
U. S., to Toronto, passing through the important towns of 
Hamilton, London, and Woodstock : a branch also con- 
nects Toronto with Lake Simcoe, opening up the very 
fertile tract of land in that direction. Another railway 
extends from Fort Erie, opposite Buffalo, to Goderich 
on Lake Huron, a distance of 158 miles. A portion of 
the Grand Trunk Railway has recently been opened, and 
trains now regularly run between Quebec and Montreal, 
a distance of 186 miles. When this magnificent railway 
is completed it will connect the cities of Quebec, Mont- 

300 CANADA. Chap. XIV 

real, and Toronto, where, joining the Great Western 
, scheme, the whole of Upper and Lower Canada will be 
' connected with the great lakes and the western States of 
'.the neighbouring republic. The main line will cross the 
;St. Lawrence at Montreal by a tubular bridge two miles 
Sn length. The Grand Trunk Railway will have its 
^eastern terminus at Portland, in the State of Maine, be- 
ttween which city and Liverpool there will be regular 
\weekly communication. This railway is, however, em- 
barrassed by certain financial difficulties, which may re- 
,tard for a time the completion of the gigantic undertaking. 

Another railway connects the important city of Ottawa 
with Prescott, on the river St. Lawrence, and has its ter- 
minus opposite to the Ogdensburgh station of the Boston 
railway. Besides these there are numerous branches, 
completed or in course of construction, which will open up 
the industry of the whole of the interior. Some of these 
lines, particularly the Great Western, have a large traffic 
-already, and promise to be very successful speculations. 

The facilities for communication, and for the transit of 
produce, are among the most important of the advantages 
which Canada holds out to emigrants, but there are others 
which must not be overlooked. The healthiness of the 
climate has been already remarked upon, but it is an im- 
portant consideration, as the bracing atmosphere and free* 
dom from diseases allow to the hardy adventurer the free 
exercise of his vigour and strength. 

Communication with England is becoming increasingly 
regular. During the summer months screw-steamers and 
sailing vessels ply between Livei^pool and Quebec, from 
whence there is cheap and easy water communication 


with the districts bordering on the great lakes. From 
Quebec to Windsor, a distance of nearly 1000 miles, pas- 
sengers are conveyed for the sum of 31«., and have the 
advantage of having their baggage under their eyes 
during the whole journey. The demand for labour in 
all parts of Canada West is great and increasing. The 
wages of farm-servants are 4/. per month with board : 
day-labourers earn from 4^. to bs. per diem, and in har- 
vest lO^., without board. The wages of carpenters and 
other skilled workmen vary according to their abilities ; 
but they range between 7s. and 12^. 6d. per diem, taking 
these as the highest and lowest prices. 

The cost of living is considerably below that in this 
country ; for crockery, cutlery, &c., 50 per cent, advance 
on home retail prices is paid, and for clothing 50 to 75 
per cent, addition on old country prices, if the articles 
are not of Canadian manufacture. The cost of a com- 
fortable log-house with two floors, 16 feet by 24, is about 
18/. ; but it must be borne in mind that very little ex- 
penditure is needed on the part of the settler ; his house 
and bams are generally built by himself, with the assist- 
ance of his neighbours; and a man with the slightest 
ingenuity or powers of imitation can also fabricate at a 
most trifling expense the few articles of household furni- 
ture needed at first. I have been in several log-houses 
where the bedsteads, tables, and chairs were all the work 
of the settlers themselves, at a cost probably of a few 
shillings ; and though the workmanship was rough, yet 
the articles answer perfectly well for all practical pur- 
poses. Persons of sober, industrious habits, going out as 
workmen to Canada, speedily acquire comfort and inde- 

302 CANADA. Chap. XIV. 

pendence, I have seen settlers who went out within the 
last eight years as day-labourers, now the owners of sub- 
stantial homesteads, with the requisite quantity of farm* 

Canada West is also a most desirable locality for per- 
sons of intelligence who are possessed of a small capital. 
Along the great lakes and in the interior there are large 
tracts of land yet unoccupied. The price of wild land 
varies from 10^. to 10/. per acre, according to the locality. 
Cleared farms, with good buildings, in the best townships, 
are worth from lOZ. to 15/. an acre : these prices refer to 
the lands belonging to the Canada Land Company ; the 
crown lands sell at prices varying from 45. to 7«. 6rf. per 
acre, but the localities of these lands are not so desirable 
in most instances. The price of clearing wild lands is 
about 4/. 5^. per acre, but in many locations, particularly 
near the railways, the sale of the timber covers the ex- 
penses of clearing. As has been previously observed, the 
soil and climate of Upper Canada are favourable to a 
great variety of crops. Wheat, however, is probably the 
most certain and profitable, and, with respect to cereals 
and other crops, the produce of the land per acre is not 
less than in England. In addition to tobacco, flax and 
hemp are occupying the attention of the settlers ; and as 
an annually increasing amount of capital is employed in 
factories, these last are likely to prove very profitable. 

In addition to the capabilities of the soil, Lake Huron 
and the Georgian Bay present extensive resources in the 
way of fish, and their borders are peculiarly desirable 
locations for the emigrant population of the west of Ire- 
land and the west Highlands of Scotland. 


With such very great advantages, it is not surprising 
that the tide of emigration should set increasingly 
towards this part of the British dominions. The following 
is a statement of the number of persons who landed at 
Quebec during the last five years. The emigration re- 
turns for 1855 will probably show a very considerable 
increase : — 

1850 32,292 

1851 41,076 

1852 39,176 

1853 36,699 

1854 53,183 

It may be believed that the greater number of these 
persons are now enjoying a plenty, many an affluence, 
which their utmost exertions could not have obtained for 
them at home. Wherever a farmstead, surrounded by 
its well-cleared acres, is seen, it is more than probable 
that the occupant is also the owner. The value of land 
increases so rapidly, that persons who originally bought 
their land in its wild state for 45. per acre, have made 
handsome fortunes by disposing of it. In Canada, the 
farmer holds a steady and certain position ; if he saves 
money, a hundred opportunities will occur for him to make 
a profitable investment ; but if, as is more frequently the 
case, he is not rich as far as money is concerned, he has 
all the comforts and luxuries which it could procure. 
BBs land is ever increasing in value; and in the very 
worst seasons, or under accidental circumstances of an 
I unfavourable nature, he can never know real poverty, 

which is 'SL deficiency in the necessaries of life. 

But in Canada, as in the Old World, people who wish 

304 CANADA. Chap. XIY. 

to attain competence or wealth must toil hard for it. In 
Canada, with all its capabilities and advantages, there is 
no royal road to riches — ^no Midas touch to turn every- 
thing into gold. The primal curse still holds good, 
" though softened into mercy ;" and those who emigrate, 
expecting to work less hard for 5«. a day than at^ home 
for Is. 6rf., will be miserably disappointed, for, where 
high wages are given, hard work is required ; those must 
also be disappointed who expect to live in style from off 
the produce of a small Canadian farm, and those whose 
imaginary dignity revolts from plough, and spade, and 
hoe, and those who invest borrowed capital in farming 
operations. The fields of the slothful in Canada bring 
forth thorns and thistles, as his fields brought them forth 
in England. Idleness is absolute ruin, and drunkenness 
Cannes with it worse evils than at home, for the practice of 
it entails a social ostracism, as well as total ruin, upon the 
emigrant and his family. The same conditions of success 
are required as in England — honesty, sobriety, and in- 
dustry ; with these, assisted by all the advantages which 
Canada possesses, there is no man who need despair of 
acquiring independence and aiBuence, although there is 
always enough of diflBculty to moderate the extravagance 
of exaggerated expectations. 

The Government of Canada demands a few remarks. 
Within the last few years the position of this colony, with 
respect to England, has been greatly changed, by mea- 
sures which have received the sanction of the Imperial 
Parliament. In 1847 the Imperial Government aban-» 
doned all control over the Canadian tariff, and the colonial 
legislature now exercises supreme power over customs 


duties, and all matters of general and local taxation. 
This was a very important step, and gave a vast impulse 
to the prosperity of Canada. The colony now has all the 
advantages — free from a few of the inconveniences — of 
being an independent country. England retains the right 
of nominating the Governor-General, and the Queen has 
the power, rarely if ever exercised, of putting a veto upon 
certain of the acts of the colonial legislature. England 
conducts all matters of war and diplomacy, and provides 
a regular military establishment for the defence of 
Canada ; and though she is neither required to espouse 
our quarrels, or bear any portion of our burdens, we 
should be compelled to espouse hers in any question 
relating to her honour or integrity, at a lavish expenditure 
of blood and treasure. It appears that the present rela- 
tions in which Canada stands to England are greatly to 
her advantage, and there is happily no desire on her part 
to sever them. 

The Governor-General is appointed by the Crown, 
generally for a term of five years, but is paid by the pro- 
vince ; he acts as viceroy, and his assent to the measures 
of the Legislature is required, in order to render them 
valid. His executive council, composed of the ministers 
of the day, is analogous to our English Cabinet. The 
governor, like our own Sovereign, must bow to the will of 
a majority in the Legislature, and dismiss his ministers 
when they lose the confidence of that body. The " sec' nd 
estate" is the Legislative Council. The governor, with 
the advice of his ministry, appoints the members of this 
body. They are chosen for life, and their number is un- 
restricted. At present there are about forty members. 

306 CANADA. Chap. XIV. 

The functions of this council are very similar to those of 
our House of Peers, and consist, to a great extent, in 
registering the decrees of the Lower House. 

The '^ third estate'' is denominated the House of As- 
sembly, and consists of 130 members, 65 for each pro- 
vince.* Tie qualification for the franchise has beau 
placed tolerably high, and no doubt wisely, as, in the 
absence of a better guarantee for the right use of it, a 
property qualification, however trifling in amount, has a 
tendency to elevate the tone of electioneering, and to 
enhance the value which is attached to a vote. The 
qualification for electors is a 50/. freehold, or an annual 
rent of 7/. 10& Contrary to the practice in the States, 
where large numbers of the more respectable portion of 
the community abstain from voting, in Canada the votes 
are nearly all recorded at every election, and the fact that 
the franchise is within the reach of every sober man gives 
an added stimulus to industry. 

The attempt to establish British constitutional govern- 
ment on the soil of the New World is an interesting 
experiment, and has yet to be tested. There are various 
disturbing elements in Canada, of which we have little 
experience in England ; the principal one being the diffi- 
culty of le^lating between what, in spite of the union, 
are two distinct nations, of difierent races and religions. 
The impossibility of reconciling the rival, and frequently 
adverse claims, of the Upper and Lower Provinces, has 

* The memben of the LegislatiTe Council and the House of Assem- 
bly receive six dollars (24«. sterling) a day for their attendance. The 
members of the Executive Council are paid at the rate of 1260?. per 


become a very embarrassing question. The strong 
social restraints, and the generally high tone of public 
feeling in England, which exercise a powerful control 
over the minister of the day, do not at present exist 
in Canada ; neither has the public mind that nice per- 
ceptioi^of moral truth which might be desired. The 
population of Upper Canada, more especially, has been 
gathered from many parts of the earth, and is com- 
posed of men, generally speaking, without education, 
whose sole aim is the acquisition of wealth, and who 
are not cemented by any common ties of nationality. 
Under these circumstances, and bearing in mind the 
immense political machinery which the Papacy can set to 
work in Canada, the transfer of British institutions to the 
colony must at present remain ;i matter of problematical 
success. It is admitted that the failure of representative 
institutions arises from the unworthiness of constituencies ; 
and if the efforts which are made by means of education 
to elevate the character of the next generation of electors 
should prove fruitless, it is probable that, with the inde- 
pendence of the colony, American institutions, with their 
objectionable features, would follow. At present the 
great diflSculties to be surmounted lie in the undue power 
possessed by the French Roman Catholic population, and 
^ the Romanist influences brought to bear successftdly on 
the Government 

There is in Canada no direct taxation for national pur- 
poses, except a mere trifle for the support of the pro- 
vincial lunatic asylums, and for some other public buildings. 
The provincial revenue is derived from customs duties, 
public works, crown lands, excise, and bank impost The 

308 CANADA. Chap. XIT. 

customs duties last year came to 1,100,000/., the revenue 
from public works to 123,000/., from lands about the same 
sum, from excise about 40,000/., and from the tax on the 
current notes of the banks 30,000/. Every county, town- 
ship, town, or incorporated village, elects its own council ; 
and all local objects are provided for by direct taxation 
through these bodies. In these municipalities the levying 
of the local taxes is vested, and they administer the monies 
collected for roads, bridges, schools, and improvements, 
and the local administration of public justice. 

According to the census taken in 1851, the population 
of Upper Canada was 952.000 souls, being an increase 
since 1842 of 465,945. That of Lower Canada amounted 
to 890,000, making a total of 1,842,000 ; but if to this we 
add the number of persons who have immigrated within 
the last four years, we have a population of 2,012,134. 

Of the population of Lower Canada, 669,000 are of 
French origin. These people speak the French language, 
and profess the Romish faith. The land is divided into 
seigneuries ; there are feudal customs and antiquated 
privileges, and the laws are based upon the model of 
those of old France. The progress of Lower Canada is 
very tardy. The French have never made good colonists, 
and the Romish religion acts as a drag upon social and 
national progress. The hahitans of the Lower Province, 
though moral and amiable, are not ambitious, and hold 
their ancient customs with a tenacity which opposes itself 
to their advancement. The various changes in the tariff 
made by the Imperial Government affected Lower Canada 
very seriously. On comparing the rate of increase in the 
population of the two provinces in the same period of 


twelve years, we find that for Upper Canada it was 130 
per cent., for Lower Canada only 34 per cent. The 
disparity between the population and the wealth of the 
two provinces is annually on the increase. 

The progress of Upper Canada, is something perfectly 
astonishing, and bids fair to rival, if not exceed, that of 
her gigantic neighbour. Her communication between the 
Lake district and the Atlantic is practically more econo- 
mical, taking the whole of the year, and, as British emi- 
gration has tended chiefly to the Upper Province, the 
population is of a more homogeneous character than that 
of the States. The climate also is more favourable than 
that of Lower Canada, These circumstances, combined 
with the inherent energy of the Anglo-Saxon races which 
have principally colonised it, account in great measure 
for the vast increase in the material prosperity of the 
Upper Province as compared with the Lower. 

In 1830 the population of Upper Canada was 210,437 
souls; in 1842, 486,055; and in 1851 it had reached 
952,004. Its population is now supposed to exceed that 
of Lower Canada by 300,000 souls. It increased in nine 
years about 100 per cent. In addition to the large num- 
ber of emigrants who have arrived by way of Quebec, it 
has received a considerable accession of population from 
the United States ; 7000 persons crossed the frontier in 
1854. The increase of its wealth is far more than com- 
mensurate with that of its population. The first returns 
of the assessable property of Upper Canada were taken 
in 1825, and its amount was estimated at 1,854,965/. 
In 1845 it was estimated at 6,393,630/. ; but in seven 
years after this, in 1852, it presents the astonishing 

310 CANADA. Chap. XIV. 

amount of 37,695,931/.! The wheat csrop of Upper 
Canada in 1841 was 3,221,991 bushels, and in 1851 it 
was 12,692,852 ; but the present year, 1855, will show a 
startling and almost incredible increase. In addition to 
the wealth gained in the cultivation of the soil, the settlers 
are seizing upon the vast water-power which the country 
affords, and are turning it to the most profitable pur- 
poses. Saw-mills, grist-mills, and woollen-mills start up 
in every direction, in addition to tool and machinery Vic- 
tories, iron-foundries, asheries, and tanneries. 

Towns are everywhere springing up as if by magic 
along the new lines of railway and canal, and the very 
villages of Upper Canada are connected by the electric 
telegraph. The value of land is everywhere increasing 
as new lines of communication are formed. The town of 
London, in Upper Canada, presents a very remarkable 
instance of rapid growth. It is surrounded by a very 
rich agricultural district, and the Great Western Railway 
passes through it. Seven years ago this place was a 
miserable-looking village of between two and three thou- 
sand inhabitants ; now it is a flourishing town, alive with 
business, and has a population of 13,000 souls. The 
increase in the value of property in its vicinity will appear 
almost incredible to English readers, but it is stated on 
the best authority: a building-site sold in September, 
1855, for 150/. per foot, which ten years ago could 
have been bought for that price per acre, and ten years 
earlier for as many pence. 

In Upper Canada there appears to be at the present 
time very little of that state of society which is marked 
by hard struggles and lawless excesses. In every part 



of my travels west of Toronto I found a high degree of 
social oomfort, security to life and property, the means 
for education and religious worship, and all the acces- 
sories of a high state of civilization, which are advantages 
brought into evei7 locality almost simultaneously with 
the clearing of the land. Yet it is very apparent, even 
to the casual visitor, that the progress of Canada West 
has only just begun. No limits can be assigned to its 
future prosperity, and, as its capabilities become more 
known, increasing numbers of stout hearts and strong 
arms will be attracted towards it. 

The immense resources of the soil under cultivation 
have not yet been developed ; the settlers are prodigal of 
land, and a great portion of the occupied territory, destined 
to bear the most luxuriant crops, is still in bush. The 
magnificent districts adjoining Lake Huron, the Georgian 
Bay, and Lake Simcoe, are only just being brought into 
notice ; and of the fertile valley of the Ottawa, which it is 
estimated would support a population of nine millions, very 
little is known. Every circumstance that can be brought 
forward combines to show that Upper Canada is destined 
to become a great, a wealthy, and a prosperous country. 

The census gives some interesting tables relating to 
the origins of the inhabitants of Canada. I wish that I 
had space to present my readers with the whole, instead 
of with this brief extract : — 

Cariadians, French origin 695,000 

Canadians, English origin 651,000 

England and Wales 93,000 

Scotland 90,000 

Ireland 227,000 

United States 56,000 

Germany 10,000 

312 CANADA. Chap. XIV. 

Besides these there are 8000 coloured persons and 
14,000 Indians in Canada, and emigrants from every 
civilised country in the world. 

As far as regards the Church of England, Canada is 
divided into three dioceses — ^Toronto, Montreal, and 
Quebec — with a prospect of the creation of a fourth, 
tliat of Kingston. The clergy, whose duties are very 
arduous and ill-requited, have been paid by the Society 
for Propagating the Gospel, and out of the proceeds of 
the clergy reserves. The Society has, in great measure, 
withdrawn its support, and recent legislative enactments 
have a tendency to place the Church of England in 
Canada, to some extent, on the voluntary system. The 
inliabitants of Canada are fully able to support any form 
of worship to which they may choose to attach themselves. 
Trinity College, at Toronto, is in close connexion with the 
Church of England. 

The Roman Catholics have enormous endowments, 
including a great part of the island of Montreal, and 
several valuable seigneuries. Very large sums are also 
received by them from those who enter the convents, and 
for baptisms, burials, and masses for the dead. The 
enslaving, enervating, and retarding effects of Roman 
Catholicism are nowhere better seen than in Lower 
Canada, where the priests exercise despotic authority. 
They have numerous and wealthy conventual establish- 
ments, both at Quebec and Montreal, and several Jesuit 
and other seminaries. The Irish emigrants constitute the 
great body of Romanists in Upper Canada ; in the Lower 
Province there are more than 746,000 adherents to this 

Chap. XIV. RELIGION. 313 

The Presbyterians are a very respectable, influential, 
and important body in Canada, bound firmly together by 
their uniformity of worship and doctrine. Though an 
Episcopalian form of church government and a form of 
worship are as obnoxious to them as at home, their oppo- 
sition seldom amounts to hostility. Generally speaking, 
they are very friendly in their intercourse with the zealous 
and hard-working clergy of the Church of England ; and, 
indeed, the comparative absence of sectarian feeling, and 
the way in which the ministers of all denominations act 
in harmonious combination for the general good, is one of 
the most pleasing features connected with religion in 

In Upper Canada there are 1559 churches, for 952,000 
adherents, being one place of worship for every 612 in- 
habitants. Of these houses of worship, 226 belong to the 
Church of England, 135 to the Roman Catholics, 148 to 
the Presbyterians, and 471 to the Methodists. In Lower 
Canada there are 610 churches, for 890,261 adherents, 
746,000 of whom are Roman Catholics. There is therefore 
in the Lower Province one place of worship for every 
1459 inhabitants. These religious statistics furnish addi- 
tional proof of the progress of Upper Canada. The 
numbers adhering to the five most important denomina- 
tions are as follows, in round numbers : — 

Boman Catholics 914,000 

Episcopaliaiis 268,000 

Ptesbyteriansi 237,000 

Methodists 183,000 

Baptists 49,000 

Beside these there are more than 20 sects, some of them 


314 CANADA. Chap. XIV. 

holding the moet extravagant and fanatical tenets. In 
the Lower Province there are 45,000 persons belon^ng 
to the Church of England, 33,000 are Presbyterians, and 
746,000 are Roman Catholics. With this vast nomber 
of Romanists in Canada, it is not surprising that nnder 
the present system of representation, which gives an equal 
number of representatives to each province, irrespective 
of population, the Roman Catholics should exercise a 
very powerful influence on the colonial Parliament. This 
influence is greatly to be deplored, not less sodally and 
politically than religiously. Popery paralyses those coun- 
tries under its dominion ; and die stationary condition of 
Lower Canada is mainly to be attributed to the successful 
efibrts of the priests to keep up that system of ignorance 
and terrorism, without which their power could not con- 
tinue to exist. 

More importance is attached generally to education in 
Upper Canada than might have been supposed from the 
extreme deficiencies of the first settiers. A national 
system of education, on a most liberal scale, has been 
organised by the Legislature, which presents in unfavour- 
able contrast the feeble and isolated efforts made for tiiis 
object by private benevolence in England. Acting on 
the principle that the first duty of government is to provide 
for the education of its subjects, a uniform and universal 
educational system has been put into force in Canada. 

This system of public instruction is founded on the 
co-operation of the Executive Government with the local 
municipalities. The members of these corporations are 
elected by the freeholders and householders. The system, 
therefore, is strictly popular and national, as the people 

Chap. XIV. EDUCATION. 316 

voluntarily Uix themselves for its support, and, through 
their elected trustees, manage the schools themselves. It 
is prohable that the working of this plan may exercise a 
beneficial influence on the minds of the people, in training 
them to thought for their oflspring, as regards their best 
interests. No compulsion whatever is exercised by the 
Legislature over the proceedings of the local municipali- 
ties ; it merely offers a pecumary grant, on the ocmdition 
of local exertion. The children of every class of the 
population have equal access to these schools, and there 
is no compulsion upon the religious faith of any. Re- 
ligious minorities in school municipalities have the alter-* 
native of separate schools, and attach considerable im- 
portance to this provision. Although what we should 
term religious instruction is not a part of the common 
school system, it is gratifying to know that both the 
Bible and Testament are read in a very large majority 
of these schools, and that the number where they are 
used is annually on the increase. There are in Upper 
Canada 3127 common schools, about 1800 of which are 
free, or partially free. The total amount available for 
school purposes in 1853 amounted to 199,674/., a magni- 
ficent sum, considering the youth and comparatively thin 
population of the country. The total number of pupils 
in the same year was 194,136. But though this number 
appears large, the painful fact must also be stated, that 
there were 79,000 children destitute of the blessings of 
education of any kind. The whole number of teachers at 
the same period was 3539, of whom 885 were Methodists, 
860 were Presbyterians, 629 were Episcopalians, 351 were 
Boman Catholics, and 194 belonged to the Baptist per- 


316 CANADA. Chap. XIV. 

suasion. The inspection of schools, which is severe and 
systematic, is conducted by local superintendents ap- 
pointed by the different municipalities. There is a Board 
of Public Instruction in each county for the eiiamination 
and licensing of teachers ; the standard of their qualifi- 
cations is fixed by provincial authority. At the head of 
the whole are a Council of Public Instruction and a Chief 
Commissioner of Schools, both appointed by the Crown. 
There are several colleges, very much on the system of 
the Scotch Universities, including Trinity College at 
Toronto, in connection with the Church of England, and 
Knox's College, a Presbyterian theological seminary. 
There are also medical colleges, both in Upper and Lower 
Canada, and a chair of agriculture has been established 
in University College, Toronta From these statements it 
will be seen that, from the ample provision made, a good 
education can be obtained at a very small cost. There 
are in Lower Canada upwards of 1100 schools. 

Every town, and I believe I may with truth write every 
village, has its daily and weekly papers, advocating all 
shades of political opinion. The press in Canada is the 
medium through which the people receive, first by tele- 
graphic despatch, and later in full, every item of English 
intelligence brought by the bi-weekly mails. Taking the 
newspapers as a whole, they are far more gentlemanly in 
their tone than those of the neighbouring republic, and 
perhaps are not more abusive and personal than some of 
our English provincial papers. There is, however, very 
great room for improvement, and no doubt, as the national 
palate becomes improved by education, the morsels pre- 
sented to it will be more choice. Quebec, Montreal, and 

Chap. XLV. THE PEESS. 317 

Toronto have each of them several daily papers, but, as 
far as I am aware, no paper openly professes republican 
or annexationist views, and some of the journals advocate 
in the strongest manner an attachment to British institu- 
tions. The prices of these papers vary from a penny to 
threepence each, and a workman would as soon think 
of depriving himself of his breakfast as of his morning 
journal. It is stated that thousands of the subscribers to 
the newspapers are so illiterate as to depend upon their 
children for a knowledge of their contents. At present 
few people, comparatively speaking, are more than half 
educated. The knowledge of this fact lowers the tone of 
the press, and circumscribes both authors and speakers, 
as any allusions to history or general literature would be 
very imperfectly, if at all, understood. 

The merchants and lawyers of Canada have, if of 
British extraction, generally received a sound and use- 
ful education, which, together with the admirable way in 
which they keep pace with the politics and literature 
of Europe, enables them to pass very creditably in any 
society. There are very good book-stores in Canada, 
particularly at Toronto, where the best English works 
are to be purchased for little more than half the price 
which is paid for them at home, and these are largely 
read by the educated Canadians, who frequently possess 
excellent libraries. Cheap American novels, ofben of a 
very objectionable tendency, are largely circulated among 
the lower classes ; but to provide them with literature of 
a better character, large libraries have been formed by 
local efforts, assisted by government grants. Canada as 
yet possesses no literature of her own, and the literary 

318 CANADA. Chap. XTV. 

man is surrounded by difficulties. Independently of the 
heavy task of addressing himself to uneducated minds, 
unable to appreciate depth of thought and beauty of 
language, it is not likely that, where the absorbing passion 
is the acquisition of wealth, much encouragement would 
be given to the struggles of native talent. 

Canada, young as she is, has made great progress in 
the mechanical arts, and some of her machinery and pro- 
ductions make a very creditable show at the Paris Ex- 
hibition ; but it must be borne in mind that this is due 
to the government, rather than to the enterprise of private 

Taken altogether, there is perhaps no country in the 
world so prosperous or so favoured as Canada, after 
giving full weight to the disadvantages which she pos- 
sesses, in a large Roman Catholic population, an unsettled 
state of society, and a mixed and imperfectly educated 
people. It is the freest land under the sun, acknowledg- 
ing neither a despotic sovereign nor a tyrant populace ; 
life and property are alike secure — ^liberty has not yet 
degenerated into lawlessness — the constitution combines 
the advantages of the monarchical and republican forms 
of government — the Legislative Assembly, to a great 
extent, represents the people — reli^ous toleration is 
enjoyed in the fullest degree — taxation and debt, which 
cripple the energies and excite the disaffection of older 
communities, are unfelt — the slave flying from bondage 
in the south knows no sense of liberty or security till he 
finds both on the banks of the St. Lawrence, under the 
shadow of the British flag. Free from the curse of 
slavery, Canada has started untrammelled in the race 


of nations, and her prt^ess already bids fair to outstrip 
in rapidity that of her older and ^gantic neighbour. 

Labour is what she requires, and as if to meet that 
requirement, circumstances have directed the altention of 
emigrants towards ber — the young, the enterprising, and 
the vigorous, are daily leaving the wasted shores of Scot- 

320 CANADA. Chap. XIV. 

Canada will not become a separate conntryy except by 
England's voluntary act 

At present every obstacle to ber fortber development 
seems to be removed — ^ber constitation bas been re- 
modelled witbin tbe last few years on an enlarged and 
liberal basis — ber religions endowments bave just been 
placed on a permanent footing — all tbe points likely 
to cause a rupture witb tbe United States bave been 
amicably settled — ^and important commercial advantages 
bave been obtained : the sun of prosperity sbines upon 
ber from tbe Gulf of St Lawrence to tbe distant sbores 
of tbe Ottawa and tbe Western Lakes. Sbe requires only 
for tbe future tbe blessing of God, so fireely accorded 
to the nations which honour Him, to make ber great and 
powerful. The future of nations, as of individuals, is 
mercifully veiled in mystery ; we can trace the rise and 
progress of empires, but we know not the time when they 
shall droop and decay — when the wealthy and populous 
cities of the Present shall be numbered with tbe Nineveh 
and Babylon of the Past. It may be that in future years 
our mighty nation shall go the way of all that have been 
before it ; but whether the wise decrees of Providence 
doom it to flourish or decline, we can still look with 
confident hope to this noble colony in the New World, 
believing that on her enlightened and happy shores^ under 
the influence of beneficent institutions and of a scriptural 
faith, the Anglo-Saxon race may renew the vigour of its 
youth, and realise in time to come the brightest hopes which 
have ever been formed of England in the New World 



322 BE-ENTE&nC6 THE STATES. Chap. XV. 

newly-settled territories west of the Missisapjn. It must 
not be forgotten that the thirty-two States of which the 
Union is composed, may be considered in some degree 
as separate oonntries, each possesang its goyemor and 
assembly, and framing, to a considerable extent, its own 
laws. Beyond the yoice which each State possesses in 
the Congress and Senate at Washington, there is appa- 
rently little to bind this yast community together ; there 
is no national form of religion, or state-endowed chnrch ; 
Unitarianism may be the preyailing faith in one State, 
Presby terianism in another, and Uniyersalism in a third ; 
while between the Northern and Southern States there is 
as wide a difference as between England and Russia — ^a 
difference stamped on the yery soil itself, and which^inthe 
opinion of some, threatens a disseyerance of the Union. 

Other causes also produce highly distinctiye features in 
the inhabitants. In the long-settled districts bordering 
upon the Atlantic, all the accompaniments and appliances 
of civilisation may be met with, and a comparatively 
stationary, refined, and intellectual condition of society. 
Travel for forty hours to the westward, and everything is 
in a transition state : there are fough roads and unfinished 
railroads ; foundations of cities laid in soil scarcely cleared 
from the forest; splendid hotels within sound of die 
hunter's rifle and the lumberer's axe ; while the elements 
of society are more chaotic than the features of the 
country. Every year a tide of emigration rolls westward, 
not from Europe only, but from the crowded eastoni 
cities, forming a tangled web of races, manners, and reli- 
gions which the hasty observer cannot attempt to dis« 
entangle. Yet there are many external features of 


umfonnity which the traveller cannot fell to lay hold of, 
and which go under the general name of Americanisms. 
These are peculiarities of dress, manners, and phrase- 
ology, and, to some extent, of opinion, and may be partly 
produced by the locomotive life which the American 
leads, and the way in which all classes are brought into 
contact in travelling. These peeuliarities are not to be 
found among the highest or the highly-educated classes, 
but they force themselves upon the tourist to a remark- 
able, and frequently to a repulsive, extent; and it is 
safer for him to narrate facts and comment upon exter- 
nals, though in doing so he presents a very partial and 
superficial view of the people, than to present his readers 
with general inferences drawn from partial premises, or 
with conclusions based upon imperfect, and often erro- 
neous, data. 

An entire revolution had been effected in my way of 
looking at tliin^«ince I landed on the shores of the New 
World. I had ceased to look for vestiges of the past, or 
for relics of ancient magnificence^ and, in place of these, I 
now contemplated vast resources in a state of progressive 
and almost feverish development, and, having become 
accustomed to a general absence of the picturesque, had 
learned to look at the practical and the utilitarian with a 
high degree of interest and pleasure. The change from 
the lethargy and feudalism of Lower Canada and the 
gaiety of Quebec, to the activity of the New England 
population, was very startling. It was not less so from 
the reposeful manners and gentlemanly appearance of the 
English Canadians, and the vivacity and politeness of the 
French, to Yankee dress, twang, and peculiarities. 

324 SLANG. Ghap. XV. 

These appeared, as the Americans say, in " fall blast,*' 
during the few hours which I spent on Lake Champlain. 
There were about a hundred passengers, including a 
sprinkling of the fair sex. The amusements were story- 
telling, whittling, and smoking. Fully half the stories 
told began with, " There was a 'cute 'coon down east," 
and the burden of nearly all was some clever act of 
cheating, " sucking a greenhorn," as the phrase is. There 
were occasional anecdotes of " bustings-up " on the 
southern rivers, " making tracks " from importunate cre- 
ditors, of practical jokes, and glaring impositions. There 
was a great deal of " liquoring-up " going on the whole 
time. The best story-teller was repeatedly called upon to 
"*' liquor some," which was accordingly done by copious 
draughts of " gin-sling," but at last he declared he was a 
"gone 'coon, fairly stumped," by which he meant to 
express that he was tired and could do no more. This 
assertion was met by encouragements to " pile on," upon 
which the individual declared that he " could n't get his 
steam up, he was tired some." This word some is syno- 
nymous in its use with our word rather, or its Yankee 
equivalent " kinder.*^ On this occasion some one applied 
it to the boat, which he declared was " almighty dirty, 
and shaky some " — a great libel, by the way. The dress 
of these individuals somewhat amused me. The prevail- 
ing costumes of the gentlemen were straw hats, black 
dress coats remarkably shiny, tight pantaloons, and 
pumps. These were worn by the sallow narrators of the 
tales of successfal roguery. There were a very few 
hardy western men, habited in scarlet flannel shirts, and 
trowsers tucked into high boots, their garments supported 

Chap. XV. A 'CUTE CHAP. 325 

by stout leathern belts, with dependent bowie-knives ; 
these told " yarns " of adventures, and dangers from 
Indians, something in the style of Colonel Crockett. 

The ladies wore their satin or kid shoes of various 
colours, of which the mud had made woeful havoc. The 
stories, which called forth the applause of the company in 
exact proportion to the barefaced roguery and utter 
want of principle displayed in each, would not have been 
worth listening to, had it not been from the extraordinary 
vernacular in which they were clothed, and the racy and 
emphatic manner of the narrators. Some of these voted 
three legs of their chairs superfluous, and balanced them- 
selves on the fourth ; while others hooked their feet on the 
top of the windows, and balanced themselves on the back 
legs of their chairs, in a position strongly suggestive of 
hanging by the heels. One of the stories which excited 
the most amusement reads very tamely divested of the 
slang and manner of the story-teller. 

A " 'cute chap down east " had a " 2*50 " black mare 
(one which could perform a mile in two minutes fifty 
seconds), and, being about to '' make tracks," he sold her 
to a gentleman for 350 dollars. In the night he stole her, 
cut her tail, painted her legs white, gave her a " blaze '^ 
on her face, sold her for 100 dollars, and decamped, send- 
ing a note to the first purchaser acquainting him with 
the particulars of the transaction. " 'Cute chap that ;" 
"A wide-awake feller;" "That coon had cut his eye- 
teeth ;" " A smart sell that ;" were the comments made 
on this roguish transaction, all the sympathy of the 
listeners being on the side of the rogue. 

The stories related by Bamum of the tricks and im- 


positions practised by himself and others are a fair 
sample, so &r as roguery goes, of those which are to be 
heard in hotels, steamboats, and cars. I have heard men 
openly boast, before a miscellaneous company, of acts of 
dishonesty which in England would have procured trans* 
portation for them. Mammon is the idol which the people 
worship ; the one desire is the acquisition of money ; the 
most nefarious trickery and bold dishonesty are invested 
with a spurious dignity if they act as aids to the attain* 
ment of this object. Children from their earliest years 
imbibe the idea that sin is sin — only when found out. 

The break&st bell rang, and a general rush took place, 
and I was left alone with two young ladies who had just 
become acquainted, and were resolutely bent upon finding 
out each other's likes and dislikes, with the intention of 
vowing an eternal friendship. A gentleman who looked 
as if he had come out of a ball-room came up, and with a 
profusion of bows addressed them, or the prettiest of them, 
thus : — " Miss, it's feeding time> I guess ; what will you 
eat ? " " You're very po-lite ; what's the ticket ? 
*' Chicken and corn-fixings, and pork with onion-fixings. 
" Well, I'm hungry some ; 111 have some pig and fix- 
ings." The swain retired, and brought a profusion of 
viands, which elicited the remark, ^^ Well, I guess that's 
substantial, anyhow." The young ladies' appetites seemed 
to be very good, for I heard the observation, " Well, you 
eat considerable ; you're in full blast, I guess." " Guess I 
am: its all-fired cold, and I have been an everlastin 
long time off my feed." A long undertoned conversa- 
tion followed this interchange of civilities, when I heard 
the lady say in rather elevated tones, " You're trying to 



rile me some; you're piling it on a trifle too high." 
** Well, I did want to put up your dander. Do tell now, 
where was you raised ? " " In Kentucky/' " I could 
have guessed that ; whenever I sees a splenderiferous gal, 
a kinder gentle goer, and high stepper, I says to myself, 
That gal's from old Kentuck, and no mistake." 

This couple carried on a long conversation in the same 
style of graceful badinage; but I have given enough 
of it. 

Lake Champlain is extremely pretty, though it is on 
rather too large a scale to please an English eye, being 
about 150 miles long. The shores are gentle slopes, 
wooded and cultivated, with the Green Mountains of 
Vermont in the background. There was not a ripple 
on the water, and the morning was so warm and showery, 
that I could have believed it to be an April day had not 
the leafless trees told another tale. Whatever the boasted 
beauties of Lake Champlain were, they veiled themselves 
from English eyes in a thick fog, through which we 
steamed at half-speed, with a dismal fog-bell incessantly 

I landed at Burlington, a thriving modem town, 
prettily situated below some wooded hills, on a bay, 
the margin of which is pure white sand. Here, as at 
nearly every town, great and small, in the United States, 
there was an excellent hotel. No people have such 
confidence in the future as the Americans. You fre- 
quently find a splendid hotel surrounded by a few clap- 
board houses, and may feel inclined to smile at the in- 
congruity. The builder looks into futurity, and sees 
that in two years a thriving city will need hotel accom- 


modation ; and seldom is he wrong. The American is a 
gregarious animal, and it is not impossible that an hotel, 
with' a tabled hote, may act as a magnet. Here I joined 
Mr. and Mrs. Alderson, and travelled with them to 
Albany, through Vermont and New York. The country 
was hilly, and more suited for sheep-farming than for 
corn. Water-privileges were abundant in the shape of 
picturesque torrents, and numerous mills turned their 
capabilities to profitable account. Our companions were 
rather of a low description, many of them Germans, and 
desperate tobacco-chewers. The whole floor of the car 
was covered with streams of tobacco-juice, apple-cores, 
grape-skins, and chestnut-husks. 

We crossed the Hudson River, and spent the night at 
DelavaVs, at Albany. The great peculiarity of this most 
comfortable hotel is, that the fifty waiters are Irish girls, 
neatly and simply dressed. They are under a coloured 
manager, and their civility and alacrity made me wonder 
that the highly-paid services of male waiters were not 
more frequently dispensed with. The railway ran along 
the street in which the hotel is situated. From my bed- 
room window I looked down into the funnel of a locomo- 
tive, and all night long was serenaded with screams, 
ringing of bells, and cries of " All aboard " and " Go 

Albany, the capital of the State of New York, is one 
of the prettiest towns in the Union. The slope on which 
it is built faces the Hudson, and is crowned by a large 
State-house, the place of meeting for the legislature of the 
Empire State. The Americans repudiate the " central- 
ization'^ principle, and for wise reasons, of which the 

Chap. XV. ALBANY. 329 

Irish form a considerable number, they almost invariably 
locate the government of each state, not at the most 
important or populous town, but at some inconsiderable 
place, where the learned legislators are not in danger of 
having their embarrassments increased by deliberating 
under the coercion of a turbulent urban population. 
Albany has several public buildings, and a number of 
conspicuous churches, and is a very thriving place. The 
traffic on the river between it and New York is enor- 
mous. There is a perpetual stream of small vessels 
up and down. The Empire City receives its daily 
supplies of vegetables, meat, butter, and eggs from its 
neighbourhood. The Erie and Champlain canals here 
meet the Hudson, and through the former the pro- 
duce of the teeming West pours to the Atlantic. The 
traffic is carried on in small sailing sloops and steamers. 
Sometimes a little screw-vessel of fifteen or twenty tons 
may be seen to hurry, puffing and panting, up to a 
large vessel and drag it down to the sea; but gene- 
rally one paddle-tug takes six vessels down, four being 
towed behind and one or two lashed on either side. As 
both steamers and sloops are painted white, and the 
sails are perfectly dazzling in their purity, and twenty, 
thirty, and forty of these flotillas may be seen in the 
course of a morning, the Hudson river presents a very 
animated and unique appearance. It is said that every- 
body loses a portmanteau at Albany: I was more for- 
tunate, and left it without having experienced the slightest 

On the other side of the ferry a very undignified 
scramble takes place for the seats on the right side of the 

330 THE HUDSON. Chap. XV. 

cars, as the scenery for ISO miles is perfectly magnificent. 
"Go ahead" rapidly succeeded "All aboard," and we 
whizzed along this most extraordinary line of railway, so 
prolific in accidents that, when people leave New York by 
it, their friends frequently request them to notify their 
safe arrival at their destination. It runs along the very 
verge of the river, below a steep cliff» but often is sup- 
ported just above the surface of the water upon a wooden 
platform. Guide-books inform us that the trains which 
run on this line, and the steamers which ply on the Hud- 
son, are equally unsafe, the former from collisions and 
"upsets," the latter from " bustinga-up ;" but most 
people prefer the boats, from the advantage of seeing 
both sides of the river. 

The sun of a November morning had just risen as I 
left Albany, and in a short time beamed upon swelling 
hills, green savannahs, and waving woods fringing the 
margin of the Hudson. At Coxsackie the river expands 
into a small lake, and the majestic Catsgill Mountains 
rise abruptly from the western side. The scenery among 
these mountains is very grand and varied. Its silence 
and rugged sublimity recall the Old World : it has rocky 
pinnacles and desert passes, inaccessible eminences and 
yawning chasms. The world might grow populous at the 
feet of the Catsgills, but it would leave them \intouched 
and unprofaned in their stem majesty. From this point 
for a hundred miles the eyes of the traveller are perfectly 
steeped in beauty, which, gathering and increasing, culmi- 
nates at West Point, a lofiy eminence jutting upon a 
lake apparently without any outlet. The spurs of moun- 
tain ranges which meet here project in precipices from 

Chap. XV. THE HUDSON. 331* 

five to fifteen hundred feet in height ; trees find a place 
for their foots in every rift among the rocks ; festoons of 
clematis and wild-vine hang in graceiiil drapery from 
hase to summit, and the dark mountain shadows loom 
over the lake-like expanse below. The hand wearies of 
writing of the loveliness of this river. I saw it on a 
perfect day. The Indian summer lingered, as though un- 
willing that the chilly blasts of winter should blight the 
loveliness of this beauteous scene. The gloom of autumn 
was not there, but its glories were on every leaf and twig. 
The bright scarlet of the maple vied with the brilliant 
berries of the rowan, and from among the tendrils of the 
creepers, which were waving in the sighs of the west wind, 
peeped forth the deep crimson of the sumach. There were 
very few signs of cultivation ; the banks of the Hudson 
are barren in all but beauty. The river is a succession 
of small wild lakes, connected by narrow reaches, bound 
for ever between abrupt precipices. There are lakes 
more beauteous than Loch Katrine, softer in their fea- 
tures than Loch Achray, though like both^ or like the 
waters which glitter beneath the blue sky of Italy. 
Along their margins the woods hung in scarlet and gold — 
high above towered the purple peaks — the blue waters 
flashed back the rays of a sun shining from an unclou^gd 
sky — the air was warm like June — ^and I think the sun- 
beams of that day scarcely shone upon a fairer scene. 
At mid-day the Highlands of Hudson were left behind — 
the mountains melted into hills — the river expanded into 
a noble stream about a mile in width — the scarlet woods, 
the silvery lakes, and the majestic Catsgills faded away 
in the distance ; and with a whoop, and a roar, and 

332 NEW YORK. Cbap. Xr. 

a datter, the cars entered into, and proceeded at slack- 
ened speed down, a long street called Tenth Avenue, 
among carts^ children, and pigs. 

True enough, we were in New York, the western re- 
ceptacle not only of the traveller and the energetic 
merchant, but of the destitute, the friendless, the vaga- 
bond, and in short of all the outpourings of Europe, 
who here form a conglomerate mass of evil, making 
America responsible for their vices and then- crimes. 
Yet the usual signs of approach to an enormous city 
were awanting — dwarfed trees, market-gardens, cockney 
arbours, in which citizens smoke their pipes in the even- 
ing, and imagine themselves in Arcadia, rows of small 
houses, and a murky canopy of smoke. We had steamed 
down Tenth Avenue for two or three miles, when we 
came to a standstill where several streets met. The 
train was taken to pieces, and to each car four horses or 
mules were attached, which took us for some distance 
into the very heart of the town, racing apparently with 
omnibuses and carriages, till at last we were deposited in 
Chambers Street, not in a station, or even under cover, 
be it observed. My baggage, or "plunder" as it is 
termed, had been previously disposed of, but, while 
waiting with my head disagreeably near to a horse's nose, 
I saw* people making distracted attempts, and futile 
ones as it appeared, to preserve their effects from the 
clutches of numerous porters, many of them probably 
thieves. To judge from appearances, many people would 
mourn the loss of their portmanteaus that night. 

New York deserves the name applied to Washington, 
" the city of magnificent distances." I drove in a hack 

Chap. XV. NEW YORK. 333 

for three miles to my destination, along crowded, hand- 
some streets, but 1 believe that I only traversed a third 
part of the city. 

It possesses the features of many different lands, but 
it has characteristics peculiarly its own ; and as with its 
suburbs it may almost bear the name of the " million- 
peopled city," and as its growing influence and importance 
have earned it the name of the Empire City, I need not 
apologise for dwelling at some length upon it in the suc- 
ceeding chapter. 



Position of New York — Ilxtemals of the city — Conveyances — Mal- 
adminlBtration *— The stores — The hotels — Curiosities of the 
hospital^— Ragged schools — The bad boo^ — Monster schools — 
Amusements and oyster saloons — Monstrosities — A restaurant-— 
Dwelling-houses — Equipages — Palaces — Dress — Figures — Man- 
ners — Education — Domestic habits — The ladies — The gentlemen 
-^Society — Receptions — Anti-English feeling — Autographs — 
The ** Buckram Englishman.' 


New York, from its position, population, influence, and 
commerce, is worthy to be considered the metropolis of 
the New World. The situation of it is very advan- 
tageous. It is built upon Manhattan Island, which is 
about thirteen miles in length by two in breadth. It has 
the narrowest portion of Long Island Sound, called East 
River, on its east side ; the Hudson, called the North 
Biver, environs it in another direction ; while these two 
are connected by a narrow strait, principally artificial, 
denominated the Haarlem River. This insular position 
of the city is by no means intelligible to the stranger, 
but it is obvious from the top of any elevated building. 
The dense part of New York already covers a large 
portion of the island ; and as it daily extends northward, 
the whole extent of insulated ground is divided into lots, 
and mapped put into streets. 

But, not content with covering the island, which, when 
Hendrick Hudson first discovered it, abounded with red 


men, who fished along its banks and guided their bark 
canoes over the surrounding waters, New York, under 
the names of Brooklyn, Williamsburgh, and four or five 
others, has spread itself on Long Island, Staten Island, 
and the banks of the Hudson. Brooklyn, on Long Island, 
which occupies the same position with regard to New 
York that Lambeth and Southwark do to London, con- 
tains a population of 100,000 souls. Brooklyn, Williams- 
burgh, Hoboken, and Jersey City are the residences of a 
very large portion of the merchants of New York, who 
have deserted the old or Dutch part of the town, which 
is consequently merely an aggregate of offices. Floating 
platforms^ moved by steam, with space in the middle 
part for twelve or fourteen earriages and horses, and 
luxurious covered apartments, heated with steam-pipes 
on either side, |dy to and fro every five minutes at 
the small charge of one halfpenny a passenger, and the 
time occupied in crossing the ferries is often less than 
that of the detention on Westminster Bridge. Besides 
these large places, Staten Island and Long Island are 
covered with villa residences. Including these towns, 
which are in reality part of this vast city, New York 
contains a population of very nearly a million ! Broad- 
way, which is one of the most remarkable streets in the 
world, being at once the Corso, Toledo, Regent Street, 
and Princes Street of New York, runs along the centre 
of the city^ and is crossed at right angles by innumerable 
streets, which run down to the water at each side. It 
would appear as if the inventive genius of the people had 
been exhausted, for, after borrowing designations for their 
streets from every part of the world, among which some 

336 NEW TOBK. Chap. XVT. 

of the old Dutch names figure moet refineshiDgly, they 
haye adopted the novel plan of numbering them. Thus 
there are ten '^ Avenues/* which run from north to south, 
and these are crossed by streets numbered First Street, 
Second Street^ and so on. I believe that the skeletons 
of one hundred and fifty numbered streets are in ex- 
istence. The southern part of the town still contains a 
few of the old Dutch houses, and there are some sub- 
stantial red-brick villas in the vicinity, inhabited by the 
descendants of the old Dutch families, who are remark- 
ably exclusive in their habits. 

New York is decidedly a very handsome city. The 
wooden houses have nearly all disappeared, together 
with those of an antiquated or incongruous appearance ; 
and the new streets are very regularly and substantially 
built of brown stone or dark bricL The brick building 
in New Tork is remarkably beautiful. The windows are 
large, and of plate-glass, and the whole external finish of 
the houses is in a splendid but chaste style, never to be 
met with in street-architecture in England. As the 
houses in the dty are almost universally heated by air 
warmed by a subterranean stove, very few chimneys are 
required, and these are seldom viable above the stone 
parapets which conceal the roo&. Anthradte coal is 
almost universally used, so there is an absence of that 
murky, yellow canopy which disfigures English towns. 
Tlie atmosphere is remarkably dry, so that even wMte 
marble edifices, of which there are several in the town, 
suffer but little from tiie efiects of climate. 

Broadway is weU paved, and many of the numbered 
streets are not to be complained of in this reqiect, 


but a great part of the city is indescribably dirty, though 
it is stated that the expense of cleaning it exceeds 250,000 
dollars per annum. Its immense length necessitates an 
enormous number of conveyances ; and in order to obviate 
the obstruction to traffic which would have been caused 
by providing omnibus accommodation equal to the de- 
mand, the authorities have consented to a most alarming 
inroad upon several of the principal streets. The stranger 
sees with surprise that double lines of rails are laid along 
the roadways ; and while driving quietly in a carriage, 
he hears the sound of a warning bell, and presently a 
railway-car, holding thirty persons, and drawn by two or 
four horses, comes thundering down the street. These 
rail-cars run every few minutes, and the fares are very 
low. For very sufficient reasons, Broadway is not thus 
encroached upon ; and a journey from one end to the 
other of this marvellous street is a work of time and diffi- 
culty. Pack the traffic of the Strand and Cheapside into 
Oxford Street, and still you will not have an idea of the 
crush in Broadway. There are streams of scarlet and 
yellow omnibuses racing in the more open parts, and lock- 
ing each other's wheels in the narrower — there are helpless 
females deposited in the middle of a sea of slippery mud, 
condemned to run a gauntlet between cart-wheels and 
horses' hoofs — there are loaded stages hastening to and 
from the huge hotels — carts and waggons laden with 
merchandise — and "Young Americans" driving fast- 
trotting horses, edging in and out among the crowd — 
wheels are locked, horses tumble down, and persons 
pressed for time are distracted. Occasionally, the whole 
traffic of the street comes to a dead-lock, in consequence 


338 NEW YOBK. Chap. XVI. 

of some obstruction or crowd, there being no policeman 
at hand with his incessant command, " Move an!** 

The hackney-carriages of New York are very hand- 
some, and, being drawn by two horses, have the appear- 
ance of private equipages ; but woe to the stranger who 
trusts to the inviting announcement that the fare is a 
dollar within a certain circle. Bad as London cabmen 
are, one would welcome the sight of one of them. The 
New York hackmen are licensed plunderers, against 
whose extortions there is neither remedy nor appeal. They 
are generally Irish, and cheat people with unblushing 
audacity. The omnibus or stage accommodation is 
plentiful and excellent. A person soon becomes accus- 
tomed to, and enjoys, the occasional excitement of locked 
wheels or a race, and these vehicles are roomy and clean. 
They are sixteen inches wider than our own omnibuses, 
and carry a number of passengers certainly within their 
capabilities, and the fares are fixed and very low, 6^ cents 
for any distance. They have windows to the sides and 
front, and the spaces between are painted with very tole- 
rably-executed landscapes. There is no conductor ; the 
driver opens and closes the door with a strap, and the 
money is handed to him through a little hole in the roof. 
The lady passengers invariably give the money to a gentle- 
man for this purpose, and no rule of etiquette is more 
rigidly enforced than for him to obey the request to do so, 
generally consisting in a haughty wave of the hand. The 
thousand acts of attention which gentlemen, by rigid usage, 
are compelled to tender to ladies, are received by them 
without the slightest acknowledgment, either by word or 
gesture. To so great an extent is this nonchalance carried 

Chap. XVI. POLICE. 339 

on the part of the females, that two or three newspapers 
have seriously taken up the subject, and advise the gentle- 
men to withdraw from the performance of such unrequited 

Strangers frequently doubt whether New York pos- 
sesses a police ; the doubt is very justifiable, for these 
guardians of the public peace are seldom forthcoming 
when they are wanted. ' They are accessible to bribes, 
and will investigate into crime when liberally rewarded ; 
but probably in no city in the civilised world is life so 
fearfully insecure. The practice of carrying concealed 
arms, in the shape of stilettoes for attack, and swordsticks 
for defence, if illegal, is perfectly common ; desperate 
reprobates, called " Rowdies," infest the lower part of the 
town ; and terrible outrages and murderous assaults are 
matters of such nightly occurrence as to be thought 
hardly worthy of notice, even m those prints which 
minister to man's depraved taste for the horrible.* 

No language can be too strongly expressive of censure 
upon the disgracefiil condition of New York. The evil 
may be distinctly traced to the wretched system of politics 
which prevails at the election of the municipal oflScers, 
who are often literally chosen from the lowest of the 
people, and are venal and corrupt in the highest degree. 

♦ The state of New York has improved. Mr. Fernando Wood, who 
was elected Mayor m November, 1854, has issued stringent regulations 
for the maintenance of order. A better police-force has been organised, 
and many of the notorious "Rowdies" and other bad characters have 
been shut up on BlackwelFs Island. His tenure of office has just 
expired, and it is much to be feared that the mob, which exercises an 
undue influence upon the municipal elections, has not chosen a suc- 
cessor who will interfere with its privileges. 

Q 2 

340 NEW YORK. Chap. XVI. 

During my visit to New York a candidate for one of 
these offices stabbed a policeman, who died of the wound. 
If I miglit judge from the tone of the public prints, and 
from conversations on the subject, public feeling was not 
much outraged by the act itself, but it was a convenient 
stalking-horse for the other side, and the policeman's 
funeral procession, which went down Broadway, was 
nearly a mile in length. 

The principal stores are situated in Broadway; and 
although they attempt very little in the way of window 
display, the interiors are spacious, and arranged with the 
greatest taste. An American store is generally a very 
extensive apartment, handsomely decorated, the roof fre- 
quently supported on marble pillars. The owner or clerk 
is seen seated by his goods, absorbed in the morning 
paper — ^probably balancing himself on one leg of his chair, 
with a spittoon by his side. He deigns to answer your 
inquiries, but, in place of the pertinacious perseverance 
with which an English shopman displays his wares, it 
seems a matter of perfect indifference to the American 
whether you purchase or no. The drapers' and mercers' 
shops, which go by the name of '' dry goods" stores, are 
filled with the costliest productions of the world. The 
silks from the looms of France are to be seen side by side 
with the productions of Persia and India, and all at an 
advance of fully two-thirds on English prices. The ''fancy 
goods" stores are among the most attractive lounges of the 
city. Here Paris figures to such an extent^ that it was 
said at the time when difficulties with France were appre- 
hended, in consequence of the Soule affair, that " Louis 
Napoleon might as well fire cannon-balls into the Palais 

Chap. XVI. STORES. 341 

Royal as declare war with America." Some of the 
bronzes in these stores are of exquisite workmanship, and 
costly china from Sevres and Dresden feasts the eyes of 
the lovers of beauty in this branch of art. 

The American ladies wear very costly jewellery, but I 
was perfectly amazed at the prices of some of the articles 
displayed. I saw a diamond bracelet containing one 
brilliant of prodigious size and lustre. The price was 
25,000 dollars, or 5000/. On inquiring who would pur- 
chase such a thing, the clerk replied, "I guess some 
southerner will buy it for his wife." 

One of the sights with which the New York people 
astonish English visitors is Stewart's dry-goods store in 
Broadway, an immense square building of white marble, 
six stories high, with a frontage of 300 feet. Tlie business 
done in it is stated to be above 1,500,000/. per annum. 
There are 400 people employed at this establishment, 
which has even a telegraph oflSce on the premises, where 
a clerk is for ever flashing dollars and cents along the 
trembling wires. There were lace collars 40 guineas each, 
and flounces of Valenciennes lace, half a yard deep, at 
120 guineas a flounce. The damasks and brocades for 
curtains and chairs were at almost fabulous prices. Few 
gentlemen, the clerk observed, give less than 3/. per yard 
for these articles. The most costly are purchased by the 
hotels. I saw some brocade embroidered in gold to the 
thickness of half an inch, some of which had been supplied 
to the St. Nicholas Hotel at 9/. per yard I There were 
stockings from a penny to a guinea a pair, and carpet- 
ings from 1^. 8^. to 22^. a yard. Besides six stories 
above ground, there were large light rooms under the 

342 NEW YOEK. Chap. XVI. 

building, and under Broadway itself, echoing with the 
roll of its 10,000 vehicles. 

The hotels are among the sights of New York. The 
principal are the Astor House (which has a world-wide 
reputation), the Metropolitan, and the St. Nicholas, all in 
Broadway. Prescott House and Irving House also afford 
accommodation on a very large scale. The entrances to 
these hotels invariably attract the eye of the stranger. 
Groups of extraordinary-looking human beings are always 
lounging on the door-steps, smoking, whittling, and read- 
ing newspapers. There are southerners sighing for their 
sunny homes, smoking Havana cigars ; western men,with 
that dashing free-and-easy air which renders them unmis- 
takeable; Englishmen, shrouded in exclusiveness, who 
look on all their neighbours as so many barbarian intruders 
on their privacy ; and people of all nations, whom business 
has drawn to the American metropolis. 

The Metropolitan Hotel is the most imposing m ap- 
pearance. It is a block of building with a frontage of 
300 feet, and is six stories high. I believe that it can 
accommodate 1300 people. The St. Nicholas is the most 
superb in its decorations ; it is a magnificent building of 
white marble, and can accommodate 1000 visitors. Every- 
thing in this edifice is on a style of princely magnificence. 
The grand entrance opens into a very fine hall with a 
marble floor, and this is surrounded with settees covered 
with the skins of wild animals. The parlours are gor- 
geous in the extreme, and there are two superb dining- 
rooms to contain 600 people each. The curtains and 
sofa-covers in some of the parlours cost bl. per yard, and, 
as has been previously named, one room is furnished 

Chap. XVI. HOTELS. 343 

with gold brocade purchased at 9Z. per yard. About 
100 married couples reside permanently at the St. Ni- 
cholas ; it does not, however, bear the very best repu- 
tation, as it is said to be the resort of a large number of 
professed gamblers. Large as these hotels are, they are 
nothing to a monster establishment at Cape May, a 
fashionable summer resort in New Jersey. The capa- 
cities of this building, the Mount Vernon Hotel, though 
stated on the best authority, can scarcely be credited — 
it is said to make up 3000 beds ! 

Owing to the high rates of house-rent and the diffi- 
culty of procuring servants, together with the exorbitant 
wages which they require, many married couples, and 
even families, reside permanently at the hotels. Living 
constantly in public, without opportunity for holding 
family intercourse, and being without either home cares 
or home pleasures, noraade, restless, pleasure-seeking 
habits are induced, which have led strangers to charge 
the Americans with being destitute of home life. That 
such is the case to some extent is not to be denied ; but 
this want is by no means generally observed. I have met 
with family circles in the New World as united and 
affectionate as those in the Old, not only in country 
districts, but in the metropolis itself; and in New Eng- 
land there is probably as much of what may be termed 
patriarchal life as anywhere in Europe. 

The public charities of New York are on a gigantic 
scale. The New York Hospital, a fine stone building 
with some large trees in front, situated in Broadway, 
was one which pleased me as much as. any. Two of the 
physicians kindly took me over the whole building, and. 

344 NEW YORK. Chap. XVI. 

explained all the arrangements. I believe that the Iios- 
pital contains 650 beds, and it is generally fully being 
not only the receptacle for the numerous accident cases 
which are of daily occurrence in New York, but for 
those of a large district besides, which are conveniently 
brought in by railroad. We firtt went into the recent- 
accident room, where the unhappy beings who were re- 
cently hurt or operated upon were lying. Some of them 
were the most piteous objects I ever witnessed, and the 
medical men, under the impression that I was deeply 
interested in surgery, took pains to exhibit all the horrors. 
There were a good many of the usual classes of accidents, 
— broken limbs and mangled frames. There was one 
poor little boy of twelve years old, whose arms had been 
torn to pieces by machinery ; one of them had been am- 
putated on the previous day, and, while the medical men 
displayed the stump, they remarked that the other must 
be taken off on the next day. The poor boy groaned 
with a more than childish expression of agony on his pale 
features, probably at the thought of the life of helplessness 
before him. A young Irishman had been crushed by a 
railway car, and one of his legs had been amputated a 
few hours previously. As the surgeon altered the band- 
ages he was laughing and joking, and had been singing 
ever since the operation— a remarkable instance of Paddy's 
unfeiiing lightheartedness. 

But, besides these ordinary accidents, there were some 
very characteristic of New York and of a New York 
election. In one ward there were several men who had 
been stabbed the night before, two of whom were mortally 
wounded. There were two men, scarcely retaining the 


appearance of human beings, who had been fearfully 
buraed and injured by the explosion of an infernal machine. 
All trace of human features had departed; it seemed 
hardly credible that such blackened, distorted, and 
mangled frames could contain human souls There were 
others who had received musket-shot wounds during the 
election, and numbers of broken heads, and wounds from 
knives. It was sad to know that so much of the suffering 
to be seen in that hospital was the result of furious re- 
ligious animosities, and of the unrestrained lawlessness of 
human violence. 

There was one man who had been so nearly critfehed to 
pieces, that it seemed marvellous that the mangled frame 
could still retain its vitality. One leg was broken in three 
places, and the flesh toni off from the knee to the foot ; 
both arms and several ribs were also broken. We went 
into one of the female wards, where sixteen broken legs 
were being successfully treated, and I could not but ad- 
mire a very simple contrivance which remedies the con- 
traction which often succeeds broken limbs, and produces 
permanent lameness. Two long straps of plaister were 
glued from above the knee to the ankle, and were then 
fixed to a wooden bar, with a screw and handle, so that 
the tension could be regulated at pleasure. The medical 
men, in remarking upon this, observed that in England 
we were very slow to adopt any American improvements 
in surgery or medicine. 

There were many things in this hospital which might 
be imitated in England with great advantage to the pa- 
tients. Each ward was clean, sweet, and airy ; and the 

Q 3 

346 HEW TOEK. Chap. XVI. 

system of heating and ventilation is very supericn*. The 
heating and ventilating apparatus, instead of sending forth 
alternate blasts of hot and cold air, keeps up a uniform 
and easily regulated temperature. A draught of cold air 
is continually forced through a large apparatus of steam- 
pipes, and, as it becomes vitiated in the rooms above, 
passes out through ventilators placed just below the 
ceiling. Our next visit was to the laundry, where two 
men, three women, and, last but not least, a steam-engine 
of 45- horse power, were perpetually engaged in washing 
the soiled linen of the hospital. The large and rapidly- 
moving Cylinder which churns the linen is a common part 
of a steam laundry, but the wringing machine is one of 
the most beautiful practical applications of a principle in 
natural philosophy that I ever saw. It consists of a large 
perforated cylinder, open at the top, with a case in the 
centre. This cylinder performs from 400 to 700 revo- 
lutions in a minute, and, by the power of the centrifugal 
force thus produced, the linen is impelled so violently 
against the sides, that the moisture is forced through the 
perforations, when the linen is left nearly dry. 

Strange as it may appear to those who associate Ame- 
rica with plenty and comfort, there is a very large class 
of persons at New York living in a state of squalid and 
abject poverty ; and in order that the children belonging 
to it may receive some education, it has been found neces- 
sary by the benevolent to supplement the common school 
system with ragged or industrial schools. In order not 
to wound the pride of parents who are not too proud to 
receive a gratuitous education for their offspring, these 

Chap. XVI. SCHOOLS. 347 

establishments are not called Ragged Schools, but " Boys' 
Meetings," and " Girls' Meetings." I visited two of 
these, the first in Tompkin Square. There were about 
100 children in the school, and nearly all of them were 
Irish Soman Catholics. They receive a good elementary 
education, and answered the questions addressed to them 
with correctness and alacrity. The Bible, of course, is not 
read, but the pupils learn a Scripture catechism, and para- 
phrased versions of Scripture incidents. One day, during 
the absence of the teacher, one of the pupils was looking 
into an English Bible, and another addressed her with the 
words, " You wicked girl, you know the priest ^ys that 
you are never to open that bad book ; I will never walk 
with you again." The child, on going home, told her 
mother, and she said that she did not think it could be 
such a bad book, as the ladies who were so kind to them 
read it. The child said that it was a beautiful book, and 
persuaded her mother to borrow a Bible from a neigh- 
bour; she read it, and became a Protestant. These 
children earn their clothing by a certain number of good 
marks, but most of them were shoeless. Each child is 
obliged to take a bath on the establishment once a-week. 
Their answers in geography and history were extremely 
good. In the afternoon the elder girls are employed in 
tailoring and dressmaking, and receive so much work that 
this branch of the school is self-supporting. 

I visited another industrial school, in a very bad part 
of the town, adjoining the Bowery, where the parents are 
of the very worst description, and their offspring are 
vicious and unmanageable. I think that I never saw vice 

348 NEW YORK. Chap. XVI. 

and crime so legibly stamped upon the countenances of 
children as upon those in this school. The teachers find 
it extremely diflScuIt to preserve discipline at all ; and the 
pilfering habits of the pupils are almost incorrigible. 
They each receive a pint of excellent soup and an un- 
limited quantity of bread for dinner ; but they are dis- 
contented and unthankful. 

The common school system will be enlarged upon in a 
succeeding chapter; but I cannot forbear noticing one school 
which I visited. It was a lofty, four-storied building of 
red brick, with considerable architectural pretensions. It 
was faced with brown stone, and had a very handsome 
entrance-hall and staircase. The people of New York 
vie with each other in their hospitality to strangers, and 
in showing them the objects of interest within their city 
in the very best manner ; and it was under the auspices 
of Dr. Wells, one of the commissioners of education, that 
I saw this admirable school, or rather educational institu-^ 
tion. On inquiring the reason of the extraordinary height 
of the balustrades, I was told that some weeks previously, 
as the boys were hurriedly leaving school, forty of them 
had been pushed over the staircase, out of which number 
nearly the whole were killed ! 

In the girls' room about 900 girls between the ages of 
eight and eighteen were assembled. They were the 
children of persons in every class in the city except the 
very wealthiest and the poorest. All these girls were well 
dressed, some of them tasteful, others fantastic, in their 
appearance. There was a great deal of beauty among 
the elder pupils ; I only regretted that the bright bloom 

Chap. XVI. SCHOOLS. 349 

which many possessed should be so evanescent. The rich 
luxuriant hair, often of a beautiful auburn hue, was a 
peculiarity which could not be overlooked. There were 
about ten female teachers, the principal of whom played 
some lively airs upon the piano, during which time the 
pupils marched steadily in from various class-rooms, and 
took their seats at handsome mahogany desks, which 
accommodated two each. No expense had been spared 
in the fittings of the apartment ; the commissioners of 
education are evidently of opinion that the young do not 
acquire knowledge the more speedily from being placed 
on comfortless benches, without any means of resting their 
weak and tired frames. 

Each desk contained a drawer or cupboard; and to 
encourage those habits of order and self-reliance to which 
so much weight is attached in the States, each pupil is 
made responsible for the preservation and security of her 
books and all implements of education. The business of 
the day commenced by the whole number of girls reverently 
repeating the Lord's Prayer, which, in addressing God as 
" Our Father," proclaims the common bond of brother- 
hood which unites the whole human race. The sound of 
900 youthful voices solemnly addressing their Creator 
was very beautiful and impressive. A chapter from the 
Bible, read aloud by the teacher, followed, and a hymn 
beautifully sung, when the pupils filed ofi^as before to the 
sound of music. We next went to the elementary room, 
appropriated to infants, who are not sent to the higher 
school till their proficiency reaches the standard re- 

350 NEW YOBK. Cbap. XVI. 

The infant system does not appear to diflfer materially 
from ours, except that it is of a more intellectual nature. 
In this room 1300 children joined in singing a hymn. In 
the boys' rooms about 1000 boys were receiving instruc- 
tion under about 12 specimens of " Young America." The 
restless, the almost fearful energy of the teachers surprised 
me, and the alacrity of the boys in answering questions. 
In the algebra-room questions involving the most difficult 
calculation on the part of the pupils were answered some- 
times even before the teacher had worked them out him- 

Altogether, I was delighted with this school and with 
the earnestness displayed by both teachers and pupils. I 
was not so well pleased with the manners of the instructors, 
particularly in the boys' school. There was a boastful- 
ness, an exaggeration, and a pedantry, which are by no 
means necessary accompaniments of superior attainments. 
The pupils have a disrespectful, familiar, and independent 
air, though I understood that the punishments are more 
severe than are generally approved of in English schools. 
The course of instruction is very complete. History is 
especially attended to, with its bearing upon modem 
politics. The teachers receive from 80/. to 300i a year, 
and very high attainments are required. Besides the 
common and industrial schools, there are means of educa- 
tion provided for the juvenile portion of the very large 
foreign population of New York, principally German. 
There are several schools held under the basements of 
the churches, without any paid teachers. The ladies 
of New York, to their honour be it said, undertake. 

Chap. XVL SCHOOLS. 351 

unassisted, the education of these children, a certain 
number being attached to every school. Each of these 
ladies takes some hours of a day, and youth and beauty 
may be seen perseveringly engaged in this arduous but 
useful task. 

The spirit of practical benevolence which appears to 
permeate New York society is one of its most pleasing 
features. It is not only that the wealthy contribute large 
sums of money to charitable objects, but they personally 
superintend their right distribution. No class is left 
untouched by their benevolent efforts ; wherever suffering 
and poverty are found, the hand of Christianity or phi' 
lanthropy is stretched out to relieve them. The gulf 
which in most cities separates the rich from the poor has 
been to some extent lessened in New York ; for numbers 
of ladies and gentlemen of education and affluence visit 
among the poor and vicious, seeking to raise them to a 
better position. 

If there are schools, emigrant hospitals, orphan asy- 
lums, and nursing institutions, to mark the good sense and 
philanthropy of the people of New York, so their love of 
amusement and recreation is strongly evidenced by the 
numerous places where both may be procured. There is 
perhaps as much pleasure-seeking as in Paris ; the search 
after amusement is characterised by the same restless 
energy which marks the pursuit after wealth ; and if the 
Americans have little time for enjoying themselves, they 
are resolved that the opportunities for doing so shall be 
neither distant nor few. Thus, Broadway and its neigh- 
bourhood contain more places of amusement than perhaps 
any district of equal size in the world. These present 

352 NEW YOBK. Chap. XVI. 

variety sufficiert to embrace the tastes of the very hetero- 
geneous population of New York. 

There are three large theatres; an opera-house of 
^gantic proportions, which is annually graced by the 
highest vocal talent of Europe ; Wood's minstrels, and 
Christy's minstrels, where blacks perform in unexception- 
able style to unwearied audiences; and comic operas. 
There are alfresco entertainments, masquerades, concerts, 
restaurants, and oyster saloons. Besides all these, and 
many more. New York contsdned in 1853 the amazing 
number of 5980 taverns. The number of places where 
amusement is combined with intellectual improvement is 
smally when compared Mith other cities of the same 
population. There are however some very magnificent 
reading-rooms and libraries. 

The amount of oysters eaten in New York surprised 
me, although there was an idea at the time of my visit 
that they produced the cholera, which rather checked any 
extraordinary excesses in this curious fish. In the busi- 
ness streets of New York the eyes are greeted continually 
with the words " Oyster Saloon," painted in large letters 
on the basement story. If the stranger's curiosity is 
sufficient to induce him to dive down a flight of steps into 
a subterranean abode, at the first glance rather suggestive 
of robbery, one favourite amusement of the people may be 
seen in perfection. There is a counter at cme side, where 
two or three persons, frequently blacks, are busily engaged 
in opening oysters for their customers, who swallow them 
with astonishing relish and rapidity. In a room beyond, 
brightly lighted by gas, family groups are to be seen, 
seated at round tables, and larger parties of friends, 


enjoying basins of stewed oysters; while from some 
mysterious recess the process of cookery makes itself 
distinctly audible. Some of these saloons are highly 
respectable, while many are just the reverse. But the 
consumption of oysters is by no means confined to the 
saloons ; in private families an oyster supper is frequently 
a nightly occurrence ; the oysters are dressed in the par- 
lour by an ingenious and not inelegant apparatus. So 
great is the passion for this luxury, that the consumption 
of it during the season is estimated at 3500/. a-day. 

There are several restaurants in the city, on the model 
of those in the Palais Royal. The most superb of these, 
hut not hy any means the most respectable^ is Taylor's, 
in Broadway. It combines Eastern magnificence with 
Parisian taste, and strangers are always expected to visit 
it. It is a room about 100 ft. in length, by 22 in 
height ; the roof and cornices richly carved and gilded, 
the walls ornamented by superb mirrors, separated by 
white marble. The floor is of marble, and a row of fluted 
and polished marble pillars runs down each side. It is a 
perfect blaze of decoration. There is an alcove at one 
end of the apartment, filled with orange-trees, and the 
air is kept refreshingly cool by a crystal fountain. Any 
meal can be obtained here at any hour. On the day on 
which I visited it, the one hundred marble tables which it 
contains were nearly all occupied ; a double row of 
equipages lined the street at the door ; and two or three 
hundred people, many of them without bonnets and 
fantastically dressed, were regaling themselves upon ices 
and other elegancies in au atmosphere redolent with the 
perfume of orange-flowers, and musical with the sound of 

354 NEW YOBK. Chap. XVI. 

trickling water, and the melody of musical snuff-boxes. 
There was a complete maze of fresco, mirrors, carving, 
gilding, and marble. A dinner can be procured here at 
any horn* of day or night, from one shilling and sixpence 
up to half-a-guinea, and other meals in like proportion. 
As we merely went to see the restaurant, we ordered ices, 
which were served from large reservoirs, shining like 
polished silver. These were paid for at the time, and we 
received tickets in return, which were taken by the door- 
keeper on coming out It might be supposed that 
Republican simplicity would scorn so much external 
display ; but the places of public entertainment vie in 
their splendour with the palaces of kings. 

It was almost impossible for a stranger to leave New 
York without visiting the American museum, the property 
of Phimas Taylor Bamum. The history of this very 
remarkable man is now well known, even in England, 
where the publication of his * Autobiography' has been a 
nine days' wonder. It is said that 60,000 copies were 
sold at New York in one day, so successful has he been 
in keeping himself for ever before the public eye. It is 
painful to see how far a man whose life has been spent in 
total disregard of the principles of truth and integrity 
shoidd have earned for himself popularity and fame. 
His museum is situated in Broadway, near to the City 
Hall, and is a gaudy building, denoted by huge paintings, 
multitudes of flags, and a very noisy band. The museum 
contains many objects of real interest, particularly to the 
naturalist and geologist, intermingled with a great deal 
that is spurious and contemptible. But this museum is 
by no means the attraction to this " Palace of Humbug." 


There is a collection of horrors or monstrosities attached, 
'which appears to fascinate the vulgar gaze. The principal 
ohjecte of attraction at this time were, a dog with two 
legs, a cow with four horns, and a calf with six legs — 
disgusting specimens of deformity, which ought to have 
been destroyed, rather than preserved to gratify a morbid 
taste for the horrible and erratic in nature. But while 
persons of the highest station and education in England 
patronised an artful and miserable dwarf, cleverly exhi- 
bited by a showman totally destitute of principle, it is not 
surprising tliat the American people should delight in yet 
more hideous exhibitions, under the same auspices. 

The magnificence of the private dwellings of New 
York must not escape mention, though I am compelled 
to withhold many details that would be interesting, from 
a fear of " violating the rights of hospitality." The squares, 
and many of the numbered streets, contain very superb 
houses of a most pleasing uniformity of style. They are 
built either of brown stone, or of dark red brick, durably 
pointed, and faced with stone. This style of brick 
masonry is extremely tasteful and beautiful Every house 
has an entrance-porch with windows of stained glass, and 
double doors ; the outer one being only closed at night. 
The upper part of the inner door is made of stained glass ; 
the door-handles and bell-pulls are made of highly-polished 
electro-plate; and a handsome flight of stone steps, with 
elegant bronze balustrades, leads up to the porch. The 
entrance-halls are seldom large, but the staircases, which 
are of stone, are invariably very handsome. These houses 
are six stories high, and usually contain three reception- 
rooms ; a dining-room, small, and not striking in appear- 

356 NEW YORK. Chap. XVI. 

ance in any way, as dinner-parties are seldom given in 
New York; a small, elegantly -furnished drawing-room, 
used as a family sitting-room, and for the reception of 
morning visitors ; and a magni6cent reception-room, 
furnished in the height of taste and elegance, for dancing, 
music, and evening parties. 

In London the bedrooms are generally inconvenient 
and uncomfortable, being sacrificed to the reception- 
rooms ; in New York this is not the case. The bedrooms 
are large, lofty, and airy ; and are furnished with all the 
appurtenances which modem luxury has been able to 
devise. The profusion of marble gives a very handsome 
and chaste appearance to these apartments. There are 
bath-rooms generally on three floors, and hot and cold 
water are laid on in every story. The houses are warmed 
by air heated from a furnace at the basement; and 
though in addition open fires are sometimes adopted, they 
are made of anthracite coal, which emits no smoke, and 
has rather the appearance of heated metal than of fuel. 
Ornamental articles of Parisian taste and Italian work- 
manship abound in these houses; and the mouldings, 
cornices, and woodwork, are all beautifully executed. 
The doorways and windows are very frequently of an 
arched form, which contributes to the tasteful appearance 
of the houses. Every species of gaudy decoration is 
strictly avoided ; the paint is generally white, with gilt 
mouldings; and the lofty rooms are either painted in 
panels, or hung with paper of a very simple pattern. 

The curtains and chair-covers are always of very rich 
damask, frequently worth from two to three guineas a 
yard ; but the richness of this, and of the gold embroi- 


dery, is toned down by the dark hue of th( 
furniture. The carpets of the reception-rooms are gene- 
rally of rich Kidderminster, or velvet pile; an air of 
elegance and cleanliness pervades these superb dwellings ; 
they look the height of comfort. It must be remembered 
that the foregoing is not a description of a dwelling here 
and there, but of fifty or sixty streets, or of 4000 or 
5000 houses, those inhabited by merchants of average 
incomes, storekeepers not of the wealthiest class, and 
lawyers. The number of servants kept in such mansions 
as these would sound disproportionately small to an 
English ear. Two or three female servants only are 
required. Breakfast is very early, frequently at seven, 
seldom later than eight. The families of merchants in 
business in the lower part of the city often dine at one, 
and the gentlemen return to a combination of dinner with 
tea at six. It dues not appear that at home luxury in 
eating is much studied. It is not customary, even among 
some of the wealthier inhabitants of New York, to indulge 
in sumptuous equipages. " Hacks," with respectable-look- 
ing drivers and pairs of horses, fill the place of private 
carriages, and look equally well. Coachmen require high 
wages, and carriages are frequently injured by collision 
with omnibuses ; these are among the reasons given for 
the very general use of hired vehicles. 

The private equipages to be seen in New York, though 
roomy and comfortable, are not elegant They are 
almost invariably closed, with glass sides and front, and 
are constructed with a view to keep out the intense heat 
of the summer sun. The coachmen are generally blacks, 
and the horses are stout animals, with cropped tails. The 


368 NEW TOEK. Cuap. XVI. 

majority have broken knees, owing to the great slipperi- 
ness of the pavements. 

Altogether, the occupants of stages are the most secure 
of the numerous travellers down Broadway. The driver, 
on his lofty box, has more control over his horses, and, in 
case of collision, the weight of his vehicle gives him an 
advantage ; and there is a general inclination, on the part 
of the conductors of carriages, to give these swiftly- 
moving vehicles " ample room and verge enough." While 
threading the way through the intricate labyrinth of 
waggons, stages, falling horses, and locked wheels, it is 
highly unpleasant for the denizens of private carriages to 
find the end of a pole through the back of the equipage, 
or to be addressed by the coachman, '^Massa, dat big 
waggon is pulling off my wheel." 

Having given a brief description of the style of the ordi- 
nary dwellings of the affluent, I will just glance at those of 
the very wealthy, of which there are several in Rfth Ave- 
nue, and some of the squares, surpassing anything I had 
hitherto witnessed in royal or ducal palaces at home. 
The externals of some of these mansions in Fifth Avenue 
are like Apsley House, and Stafford House, St. James's ; 
being substantially built of brown stone. At one house 

which I visited in street, about the largest private 

residence in the city, and one which is considered to 
combine the greatest splendour with the greatest taste, 
we entered a spacious marble hall, leading to a circular 
stone staircase of great width, the balustrades being 
figures elaborately cast in bronze. Above this staircase 
was a lofty dome, decorated with paintings in fresco of 
eastern scenes. There were niches in the walls, some 

Chap. XVI. PALACES. 359 

containiDg Italian statuary, and others small jets of water 
pouring over artificial moss. 

There Were six or eight magnificent reception-rooms, 
furnished in various styles — the Mediaeval, the Eliza- 
bethan, the Italian, the Persian, the modern English, &c. 
I'here were fountains of fairy workmanship, pictures from 
the old masters, statues from Italy, ^^ chefs-dHoeuvr^^ of 
art ; porcelain from China and Sevres ; damasks, cloth of 
gold, and hijcmx from the East ; Gobelin tapestry, tables 
of malachite and agate, and "knick-knacks" of every 
description. In the Mediaeval and Elizabethan apart- 
ments, it did not appear to me that any anachronisms had 
been committed with respect to the furniture and decora- 
tions. The light was subdued by passing through win- 
dows of rich stained glass. I saw one table the value of 
which might be about 2000 guineas. The ground was 
black marble, with a wreath of flowers inlaid with very 
costly gems upon it. There were flowers or bunches of 
fruit, of turquoise, carbuncles, rubies, topazes, and eme- 
ralds, while the leaves were of malachite, cornelian, or 
agate. The effect produced by this lavish employment of 
wealth was not very good. The bedrooms were scarcely 
less magnificently furnished than the reception-rooms ; 
with chairs formed of stag-horns, tables inlaid with 
agates, and hangings of Damascus cashmere, richly em- 
bossed with gold. There was nothing gaudy, profuse, or 
prominent in the decorations or furniture; everything 
had evidently been selected and arranged by a person of 
very refined taste. Among the very beautiful works of 
art was a collection of cameos, including some of Cellini's 
from the antique, which were really entrancing to look upon. 

360 NEW YORK. Chap. XVI. 

Another mansion, which N. P. Willis justly describes 
as " a fairy palace of taste and art," though not so exten- 
sive, was equally beautiful, and possessed a large winter- 
garden. This was approached by passing through a 
succession of very beautiful rooms, the walls of which 
were hung with paintings which would have delighted a 
connoisseur. It was a glass building with a high dome ; 
a fine fountain was piaffing in the centre, and round its 
marble basin were orange, palm, and myrtle trees, with 
others from the tropics, some of them of considerable 
growth. Every part of the floor that was not of polished 
white marble was thickly carpeted with small green ferns. 
The gleam of white marble statues, from among the 
clumps of orange-trees and other shrubs, was particularly 
pretty; indeed, the whole had a fairy-like appearance 
about it. Such mansions as these were rather at variance 
with my ideas of republican simplicity ; they contained 
apartments which would have thrown into the shade the 
finest rooms in Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace. 
It is not the custom for Americans to leave large for- 
tunes to their children ; their wealth is spent in great 
measmre in surrounding themselves with the beautiful 
and the elegant in their splendid mansions ; and it is pro- 
bable that the adornments which have been collected with 
so much expense and trouble will be dispersed at the 
death of their present possessors. 

I have often been asked, " How do the American ladies 
dress? Have they nice figures? Do they wear much 
ornament? What are their manners like? Are they 
highly educated ? Are they doniestic?" I will answer 
these questions as far as I am capable of doing so. 


In bygone times, the "good old times" of America 
perhaps, large patterns, brilliant colours, exaggerated 
fashions, and redundant ornament, were all adopted by 
the American ladies; and without just regard to the 
severity of their climate, they patronised thin dresses, 
and yet thinner shoes ; both being, as has been since dis- 
covered, very prolific sources of ill health. Frequent 
intercourse with Europe, and the gradual progress of 
good taste, have altered this absurd style, and America, 
like England, is now content to submit to the dictation 
of Paris in all matters of fashion. But though Paris 
might dictate, it was found that American milliners had 
stubborn wills of their own, so Parisian niodistes were 
imported along with Parisian silks, ribands, and gloves. 
No dressmaker is now considered orthodox who cannot 
show a prefix of Madame^ and the rage for foreign mate- 
rials and workmanship of every kind is as ludicrous as in 

Although the deception practised is very blameable, 
there is some comfort in knowing that large numbers of 
the caps, bonnets, mantles, and other articles of dress, 
which are marked ostentatiously with the name of some 
Mue in Paris, have never incurred the risks of an Atlantic 
voyage. But however unworthy a devotion to fashion 
may be, it is very certain that the ladies of New York 
dress beautifully, and in very good taste. Although it is 
rather repugnant to one's feelings to behold costly silks 
and rich brocades sweeping the pavements of Broadway, 
with more eflect than is produced by the dustmen, it is 
very certain that more beautiful toilettes are to be seen in 
this celebrated thoroughfare, in one afternoon, than in 


362 NEW TOfiK. Chap. XVL 

Hyde Park in a week. As it is impossible to display 

the productions of the millinery art in a close carriage in 

a crowd, Broadway is the fashionable promenade; and 

the lightest French bonnets, the handsomest mantles, and 

the richest flounced ^Ik dresses, with juponsj ribands, and 

laces to correspond, are there to be seen in the afternoon. 1 

Evening attire is very much the same as in England, 

only that richer materials are worn by the young. The 

harmony of. colours appears to be a subject studied to 

some purpose, and the style of dress is generally adapted 

to the height, complexion, and figure of the wearer. 

The figures of the American ladies in youth are very 
sylph-like and elegant ; and this appearance is obtained 
without the use of those artificial constraints so justly to 
be condemned. They are almost too slight for beauty, 
though this does not signify while they retain the luxu- 
riant wavy hair, brilliant complexion, elastic step, and 
gracefulness of very early youth. But unfortunately a 
girl of twenty is too apt to look faded and haggard ; and 
a woman who with us would be in her bloom at thirty, 
looks passee, wrinkled, and old. It is then that the 
sylph-like form assumes an unpleasant angularity, sug- 
gestive of weariness and care. It is remarkable, however, 
that ladies of recent English extraction, under exactly 
the same circumstances, retain their good looks into 
middle life, and advancing years produce ernbonpointy 
instead of angularity. I was very agreeably surprised 
with the beauty of the young ladies of New York ; there 
is something. peculiarly graceful and fascinating in their 
personal appearance. 

To judge from the costly articles of jewellery displayed 


in the stores, I should have supposed that there was a 
great rage for ornament; but from the reply I once 
received from a jeweller, on asking him who would pur- 
chase a five- thousand-guinea diamond bracelet, ^^ I guess 
some Southerner will buy it for his wife," I believe that 
most of these articles find their way to the South and 
West, where a less-cultivated taste may be supposed to 
prevail. I saw very little jewellery worn, and that was 
generally of a valuable but plain description. The young 
ladies appear to have adopted the maxim, ^^ Beauty when 
unadorned is adorned the most." They study variety in 
ornament rather than profusion. " What are their man- 
ners like ?" is a difficult question to answer. That there 
is a great difference between the manners of English and 
American ladies may be inferred from some remarks made 
to me by the most superior woman whom I met in America, 
and one who had been in English society in London. 
In naming a lady with whom she was acquainted, and 
one who could scarcely be expected to be deficient in 
affection towards herself, she said, " Her manners were 
perfectly ladylike, but she seemed to talk merely because 
cpnversation was a conventional requirement of society, 
and I cannot believe that she had any heart." She 
added, " I did not blaftie her for this ; it was merely the 
result of an English education, which studiously banishes 
every appearance of interest or emotion. Emotion is con- 
demned as romantic and vulgar sensibility, interest as 

The system which she reprehended is not followed at 
New York, and the result is, not that the ladies " wear 
their hearts on their sleeves for daws to peck at," but 

R 2 


364 NEW YORK. Chap. XVI. 

that they are unaffected, lively, and agreeable. The re- 
pose 80 studiously cultivated in England, and which is 
considered perfect when it has become listlessness, apathy, 
and indifference, finds no favour with our lively Transat- 
lantic neighbours ; consequently the ladies are very valve 
and lively, and their manners have the vivacity without 
the frivolity of the French. They say themselves that 
they are not so highly educated as the ladies of England. 
Admirable as the common schools are, the seminaries for 
ladies, with one or two exceptions, are very inferior to 
ours, and the early age at which the young ladies go 
into society precludes them from completing a superior 
education ; for it is scarcely to be expected that, when 
their minds are filled with the desire for conquest and 
the love of admiration, they will apply systematically to 
remedy their deficiencies. And again, some of their own 
sex in the States have so far stepped out of woman*s 
proper sphere, that high attainments are rather avoided 
by many from the ridicule which has been attached to 
the unsuitable display of them in public. The young 
ladies are too apt to consider their education completed 
when they are emancipated from school restraints, while 
in fact only the basis of it has been laid. Music and 
drawing are not much cultivated in the higher branches ; 
and though many speak the modern languages with 
fluency, natural philosophy and arithmetic, which strengthen 
the mental powers, are rather neglected. Yet who has 
ever missed the higher education which English ladies 
receive, while in the society of the lively, attractive ladies 
of New York ? Of course there are exceptions, where 
active and superior minds become highly cultivated by 


their own persevering exertions ; but the aids offered by 
ladies' schools are comparatively insignificant. 

ITie ladies in the United States appeared to me to be 
extremely domestic. However fond they may be of ad- 
miration as girls, after their early marriages they become 
dutiful wives, and affectionate, devoted mothers. And in 
a country where there are few faithful attached servants, 
far more devolves upon the mother than English ladies 
have any idea of. Those amusements which would with- 
draw her from home must be abandoned ; however fond 
she may be of travelling, she must abide in the nursery ; 
and all those little attentions which in England are turned 
over to the nurse must be performed by herself, or under 
her superintending eye. She must be the nurse of her 
children alike by day and by night, in sickness and in 
health ; and with the attention which American ladies pay 
to their husbands, their married life is by no means an 
idle one. Under these circumstances, the early fading of 
their bloom is not to be wondered at, and I cannot but 
admire the manner in which many of .them cheerfully con- 
form to years of anxiety and comparative seclusion, after 
the homage and gaiety which seemed their natural atmos- 
phere in their early youth. 

Of the gentlemen it is less easy to speak. They are 
immersed in a whirl of business, often of that speculative 
kind which demands a constant exercise of intense thought. 
The short period which they can spend in the bosom of 
their families must be an enjoyment and relaxation to 
them ; therefore, in the absence of any statements to the 
contrary, it is but right to suppose that they are affec- 
tionate husbands and fathers. However actively the gen- 

366 NEW YORK. Chap. XVI. 

tlemen of New York are engaged in business pursuits, 
they travel, read the papers, and often devote some time 
to general literature. They look rather more pale and 
careworn than the English, as the uncertainties of business 
are greater in a country where speculative transactions 
are carried to such an exaggerated extent. They also 
indulge in eccentricities of appearance in the shape of 
beards and imperials, not to speak of the " goatee" and 
moustaches of various forms. With these exceptions, 
there is nothing in appearance, manner, or phraseology to 
distinguish them from gentlemen in the best English 
society, except perhaps that they evince more interest and 
animation in their conversation. 

^ Tho peculiar expressions which go under the name 
^.''''m^ Americanisms are never heard in good society, and 
those disagreeable habits connected vrith tobacco are 
equally unknown. I thought that the* gentlemen were 
remarkably free from mannerisms of any kind. I have 
frequently heard Americans speak of the descriptions 
given by Dickens and Mrs. Trollope of the slang and 
disagreeable practices to be met with in the States ; and 
they never, on a single occasion, denied their truthfulness, 
but said that these writers mistook the perpetrators of 
these vulgarities for gentlemen. The gentlemen are ex- 
tremely deferential and attentive in their manners to 
ladies, and are hardly, I think, treated with sufficient 
graciousness in return. At New York a great many are 
actively engaged in philanthropic pursuits. The quiescence 
of manner attained by English gentlemen, which fre- 
quently approaches inanity, is seldom to be met with in 
America. The exhilarating influences of the climate and 

Chap. XVI. SOCIETY. 367 

the excitement of business have a tendency to produce 
animation of manner, and force and earnestness of expres- 
sion. A great diflFerence in these respects is apparent in 
gentlemen from the southern States, who live in an ener- 
vating climate, and whose pursuits are of a more tran- 
quil nature. The dry, elastic atmosphere of the northern 
States produces a restlessness which must either expend 
itself in bodily or mental exertion or force of expression ; 
from this probably arise the frequent use of superlatives, 
and the exaggeration of language, which the more phleg- 
matic English attribute to the Americans. 

Since my return to England I have frequently been 
asked the question, " What is society like in America ? " 
Tliis word society is one of very ambiguous meaning. It 
is used in England by the titled aristocracy to distinguish 
themselves, their connexions, and those whose wealth or 
genius has gained them admission into their circles. But 
every circle, every city, and even every country neigh- 
bourhood, has what, it pleases to term " society ;" and 
when the members of it say of an individual, " I never 
met him in society," it ostracises him, no matter how 
estimable or agreeable he may be. In England, to 
" society," in each of its grades, wealth is a sure pass- 
port, as has been evidenced of late years by several very 
notorious instances. Thus it is extremely difficult to 
answer the question, "What is New York society like ?" 
It certainly is not like that which is associated in our 
minds with the localities May Fair and Belgravia ; neither 
can it be compared to the circles which form parasitically 
round the millionaire ; still less is it like the dulness 
of country neighbourhoods. New York has its charmed 

308 NEW YORK. Chap. XVI. 

circles also ; a republic admits of the greatest excliisive- 
ness ; and, in the highest circles of the city, to say that 
a man is not in society, is to ostracise him as in England. 
It must be stated that some of the most agreeable 
salons of New York are almost closed against foreigners. 
French, Germans, and Italians, with imposing titles, have 
proved how unworthily they bear them ; and this feeling 
against strangers — ^I will not call it prejudice, for there 
are sufficient grounds for it — is extended to the English, 
some of whom, I regret to say, have violated the rights of 
hospitality in many different ways. I have heard of such 
conduct on the part of my countrymen as left me no 
room for surprise that many families, whose acquaintance 
would be most agreeable, strictly guard their drawing- 
room from English intrusion. And, besides this, there 
are those who have entered houses merely to caricature 
their inmates, and have received hospitality only to ridi- 
cule the manner in which it was exercised, while they 
have indulged in unamiable personalities, and have not 
respected the sanctity of private life. 

It was through an introduction given me by a valued 
English friend that I, as an English stranger, was re- 
ceived with the kindest hospitality by some of those who 
have been rendered thus exclurive by the bad taste and 
worse conduct of foreigners. I feel, as I write, that any 
remarks I make on New York society cannot be perfectly 
free from bias, owing to the overwhelming kindness and 
glowing hospitality which I met with in that city. I 
found so much to enjoy in society, and so much to interest 
and please everywhere, that when I left New York it was 
with the wish that the few weeks which I was able to 

Chap. XVI. SOCIETY. 369 

spend there could have been prolonged into as many 

But, to answer the question. The best society in New 
York would not suffer by comparison in any way with the 
best society in England. It is not in the upper classes of 
any nation that we must look for national characteristics 
or peculiarities. Society throughout the civilized world 
is, to a certain extent, cast in the same mould ; the same 
laws of etiquette prevail, and the same conventionalisms 
restrict in great measure the display of any individual 
characteristics. Balls are doubtless the same in "so- 
ciety " all over the world ; a certain amount of black 
cloth, kid gloves, white muslin, epaulettes if they can be 
procured, dancing, music, and ices. Every one acknow- 
ledges that dinner-parties are equally dull in London and 
Paris, in Calcutta and in New York, unless the next 
neighbour happens to be peculiarly agreeable. There- 
fore, it is most probable that balls and dinner-parties are 
in New York exactly the same as in other places, except 
that the latter are less numerous, and are principally 
confined to gentlemen. It is not, in fact, convenient to 
give dinner parties in New York ; there are not sufficient 
domestics to bear the pressure of an emergency, and the 
pleasure is not considered worth the trouble. If two or 
three people have sufficient value for the society of the 
host and hostess to come in to an ordinary dinner, at an 
ordinary hour, they are welcome. If turtle and venison 
were offered on such an occasion, it would have the effisct 
of repelling, rather than attracting, the guests, and it 
would not have the efiect of making them believe that their 
host and hostess always lived on such luxurious viands. 

R 3 

370 NEW YORK. Chap. XVI. 

As dinner-parties are neither deemed agreeable nor 

convenient, and as many sensible people object to the late 

hours and general dissipation of mind produced by balls 

and large dancing parties, a happy innovation upon old 

customs has been made, and early evening receptions have 

been introduced. Some of the most splendid mansions of 

New York, as well as the most agreeable, are now thrown 

open weekly for the reception of visitors in a social 

manner. These receptions differ from what are known 

by the same name in London. The crowd in which people 

become wedged, in a vain attempt to speak to the hostess, 

is as much as possible avoided ; late hours are abandoned ; 

the guests, who usually arrive about eight, are careful 

to disappear shortly after eleven, lest, Cinderella-like, 

the hostess should vanish. Then, again, all the guests 

feel themselves on a perfect equality, as people always 

ought to do who meet in the same room, on the invitation 

of the same hostess.* 

The lady of the house adopts the old but very sensible 
fashion of introducing people to each other, which helps 

* The Americans justly ridicule that species of bad breeding which 
leads people at parties to draw back from others, from a fear that their 
condescension should fall upon ground imconsecrated by the dictatorial 
fiat of ** society." An amusing instance of the effect of this pride, 
which occurred in England, was related. Some years ago the illus- 
trious Baron Humboldt was invited to play the part of lion at the house 
of a nobleman. A select circle of fashionables appeared^ and among 
the company a man very plainly dressed and not noticeable in appear* 
ance. He spoke first to one person, and then to another : some drew 
themselves up with a haughty stare; others answered in monosyllables; 
but all repulsed the Baron; and it was not until late in the evening, 
after he had departed early, disgusted with this ungracious reception, 
that these people knew that by their conduct they had lost the advan- 
tage of the conversation of one of the greatest men of the age. 


to prevent a good deal of stiffiiess. As the rooms in the 
New York houses are generally large, people sit, stand, 
or walk about as they feel inclined, or group themselves 
round some one gifted with peculiar conversational powers. 
At all of these re-unions there was a great deal of conver- 
sation worth listening to or joining in, and, as a stranger, 
I had the advantage of being introduced to every one who 
was considered worth knowing. Poets, historians, and 
men of science are to be met with frequently at these 
receptions ; but they do not go as lions, but to please and 
be pleased ; and such men as Longfellow, Prescott, or 
Washington Irving may be seen mixing with the general 
throng with so much bonhommie and simplicity, that none 
would fancy that in their own land they are the envy of 
their age, and sustain world-wide reputations. The way 
in which literary lions are exhibited in England, as essen- 
tial to the eclat of fashionable parties, is considered by 
the Americans highly repugnant to good taste. I was 
very agreeably surprised with the unaffected manners 
and extreme simplicity of men eminent in the scientific 
and literary world. 

These evening receptions are a very happy idea ; for 
people, whose business or inclinations would not permit 
them to meet in any other way, are thus brought to- 
gether without formality or expense. The conversation 
generally turned on Europe, general literature, art, 
science, or the events of the day. I must say that I 
never heard one remark that could be painful to an 
English ear made, even in jest. There was none of 
that vulgar boastfulness and detraction which is to be 
met with in less educated society. Most of the gentle- 

372 NEW YORK. Chap. XYI. 

men whom I met, and many of the ladies, had travelled 
in Europe, and had brought back highly cultivated tastes 
in art, and cosmopolitan ideas, which insensibly affect the 
circles in which they move. 

AU appeared to take a deep interest in the war, and in 
our success. I heard our military movements in the Crimea 
criticised with some severity by military men, some of whom 
have since left for the seat of war, to watch our operations. 
The conclusion of the Vienna negociations appeared to 
excite some surprise. "I had no idea," an officer ob- 
served to me, ^' that public opinion was so strong in Eng- 
land as to be able to compel a minister of such strong 
Russian proclivities as Lord Aberdeen to go to war with 
his old friend Nicholas." Tlie arrangements at Bala- 
klava excited very general condemnation ; people were 
fond of quoting the saying attributed to a Russian officer, 
" You have an army of lions led by asses,*^ 

The Americans are always anxious to know what 
opinion a stranger has formed of their country, and I 
would be asked thirty times on one evening, '.' How do 
you like America ?" Fortunately, the kindness which I 
met with rendered it impossible for me to give any but a 
satisfactory reply. English literature was a very general 
topic of conversation, and it is most gratifying to find how 
our best English works are ^^ familiar in their mouths as 
household words." Some of the conversation on literature 
was of a very brilliant order. I heard very little approxi- 
mation to either wit or humour, and badinage is not 
cultivated, or excelled in, to the same extent as in 

Oil one occasion I was asked to exhibit a collection of 


autographs, and the knowledge of English literature pos- 
sessed by the Americans was shown by the information 
they had respecting not only our well-known authors, but 
those whose names have not an extended reputation even 
with us. Thus the works of Maitland, Ritchie, Sewell, 
Browning, Howitt, and others seemed perfectly familiar 
to them. The trembling signature of George III. excited 
general interest from his connection with their own history, 
and I was not a little amused to see how these repub- 
licans dwelt with respectful attention on the decided 
characters of Queen Victoria. A very characteristic 
letter of Lord Byron's was read aloud, and, in return for 
the pleasure they had experienced, several kind indivi- 
duals gave me valuable autographs of their own literati 
and statesmen. Letters written by Washington descend 
as precious heirlooms in families, and so great is the 
estimation in which this venerated patriot is held, that, 
with all the desire to oblige a stranger which the 
Americans evince, I believe that I could not have pur- 
chased a few lines in his handwriting with my whole col- 

It would be difficult to give any idea of the extremely 
agreeable character of these receptions. They seemed to 
me to be the most sensible way of seeing society that I 
ever met with, and might be well worthy of general imi- 
tation in England. When I saw how sixty or a hundred 
people could be brought together without the inducements 
of dancing, music, refreshments, or display of any kind ; 
when I saw also how thoroughly they enjoyed themselves, 
how some were introduced, and those who were not 
entered into sprightly conversation without fear of lessen- 

374 NEW YORK. Chap. XVI. 

ing an imaginary dignity, I more than ever regretted the 
icy coldness in which we wrap ourselves. And yet, 
though we take such trouble to clothe ourselves in 
this glacial dignity, nothing pleases us better than to 
go to other countries and throw it off, and mix with 
our fellow men and women as rational beings should, 
not as if we feared either to compromise ourselves or to 
be repulsed by them. Tins national stiffiiess renders us 
the laughing-stock of foreigners ; and in a certain city in 
America no play was ever more successful than the 
* Buckram Englishman^ which ridiculed and caricatured 
our social peculiarities. 

The usages of etiquette are much the same as in 
England, but people aj^eared to be assisted in the 
enjoyment of society by them rather than trammeled. 
Morning visiting is carried to a great extent, but people 
call literally in the morning, before two o'clock oftener 
than after. On New Year's Day, in observance of an old 
Dutch custom, the ladies remain at home, and all the 
gentlemen of their acquaintance make a point of calling 
upon them. Of course time will only allow of the inter- 
change of the compliments of the season, where so much 
social duty has to be performed in one brief day, but 
this pleasant custom tends to keep up old acquaintance- 
ships and annihilate old feuds. It is gratifying to observe 
that any known deviation from the rules of morality is 
punished with exclusion from the houses of those who are 
considered the leaders of New York society ; it is also 
very pleasing to see that to the best circles in New York 
wealth alone is not a passport. I have heard cards of 
invitation to these receptions refused to foreigners bearing 


illustrious titles, and to persons who have the reputation 
of being' millionaires. At the same time, I have met 
those of humble position and scanty means, who are 
treated with distinction because of their talents or intel- 
lectual powers. Yet I have never seen such a one 
patronised or treated as a lion ; he is not expected to do 
any homage, or pay any penalty, for his admission into 
society. In these circles in New York we are spared the 
humiliating spectacle of men of genius or 'intellect 
cringing and uneasy in the presence of their patronising 
inferiors, whom birth or wealth may have placed socially 
above them. Of course there is society in New York 
where the vulgar iniSuence of money is omnipotent, and 
extravagant display is fashionable ; it is of the best that 
I have been speaking. 

376 NEW YOEK. Chap. XTII. 


The cemetery — Its beauties— The "Potter's Field" — The graves of 
children — Monumental eccentricities — Arrival of emigrants — 
Their reception — Poor dwellings — The dangerous class — The 
elections — The riots — Characteristics of the streets — Journey to 
Boston — The sights of Boston — Longfellow — Cambridge university. 

It may seem a sudden transition Irom society to a ceme- 
tery, and yet it is not an unnatural one, for many of the 
citizens of New York carry their magnificence as far as 
possible to the grave with them, and pile their wealth 
above their heads in superb mausoleums or costly statues. 
The Pere la Chaise d{ the city is the Greenwood Ceme- 
tery, near Brooklyn on Long Island. I saw it on the 
finest and coldest of November days, when a piercing 
east wind was denuding the trees of their last scarlet 
honours. After encountering more than the usual crush 
in Broadway, for we were rather more than an hour in 
driving three miles in a stage, we crossed the Brooklyn 
Ferry in one of those palace ferry-boats, where the spa- 
cious rooms for passengers are heated by steam^pipes, and 
the charge is only one cent^ or a fraction less than a half- 
penny. It was a beautiful day ; there was not a cloud 
upon the sky ; the waves of the Sound and of the North 
River were crisped and foam-tipped, and dashed noisily 
upon the white pebbly beach. Brooklyn, Jersey, and 
Hoboken rose from the water, with their green fields and 


avenues of villas ; white, smokeless steamers were passing 
and repassing ; large anchored ships tossed upon the 
waves ; and New York, that compound of trees, buildings, 
masts, and spires, rose in the rear, without so much as a 
single cloud of smoke hovering over it. 

A railway runs from Brooklyn to the cemetery, with 
the cars drawn by horses, and the dead of New York are 
conveniently carried to this last resting-place. The 
entrance is handsome, and the numerous walls and car- 
riage-drives are laid with fine gravel, and beautifully 
swept. We drove to see the most interesting objects, 
and the coachman seemed to take a peculiar pride in 
pointing them out. This noble burying-ground has some 
prettily diversified hill and dale scenery, and is six miles 
round. The timber is very fine, and throughout art has 
only been required as an assistance to nature. To this 
cemetery most of the dead of New York are carried, and 
after " life's fitful fever,*' in its most exaggerated form, 
sleep in appropriate silence. Already several thousand 
dead have been placed here in places of sepulture vary- 
ing in appearance from the most splendid and ornate to 
the simplest and most obscure. There are family raauso- 
leums, gloomy and sepulchral looking, in the Grecian 
style ; family burying-grounds neatly enclosed by iron or 
bronze railings, where white marble crosses mark the 
graves ; there are tombs with epitaphs, and tombs with 
statues; there are simple cenotaphs and monumental 
slabs, and nameless graves marked by numbers only. 

One very remarkable feature of this cemetery is the 
*' Potter's Field," a plot containing several acres of 
ground, where strangers are buried. This is already 

378 NEW YORK. Chap. XVH. 

occupied to a great extent. The graves are placed in 
rows close together, with numbers on a small iron plate 
to denote each. Here the shipwrecked, the pestilence- 
stricken, the penniless, and friendless are buried ; and 
though such a spot cannot fail to provoke sad musings, 
the people of New York do not suffer any appearances 
of neglect to accumulate round the last resting-place 
of those who died unfriended and alone. Another feature, 
not to be met with in England, strikes the strainer at first 
with ludicrous images, though in reality it has more of 
the pathetic. In one part of this cemetery there are 
several hundred graves of children, and these, with most 
others of children of the poorer class, have toys in glass 
cases placed upon them. There are playthings of many 
kinds, woolly dogs and lambs, and little wooden houses^ 
toys which must be associated in the parents' minds with 
those who made their homes glad, but who have gone 
into the grave before then^ One cannot but think of the 
bright eyes dim, the merry laugh and infantine prattle 
silent, the little hands, once so active in playful mischief, 
stiff and cold ; all brought so to mind by the sight of 
those toys. There is a fearful amount of mortality among 
children at New York, and in several instances four or 
five buried in one grave told with mournful suggestive- 
ness of the silence and desolation of once happy hearths. 

There are a few very remarkable and somewhat fan- 
tastic monuments. There is a beautiful one in white 
marble to the memory of a sea-captain's wife, with an 
exact likeness of himself, in the attitude of taking an 
observation, on the top. An inscription to himself is 
likewise upon it, leaving only the date of his death to be 


added. It is said that, when this poor man returns from 


a voyage, he* spends one whole day in the tomb, lament- 
ing his bereavement. 

There is a superb monument, erected by a fireman's 
company to the memory of one of their brethren, who 
lost his life while nobly rescuing an infant from a burning 
dwelling. His statue is on the top, with an infant in his 
arms, and the implements of his profession lie below. 
But by far the most extraordinary, and certainly one of 
the lions of New York, is to a young lady who was killed 
in coming home from a ball. The carriage-horses ran 
away, she jumped out, and was crushed under the wheels. 
She stands under a marble canopy supported by angels, 
and is represented in her ball-dress, with a mantle thrown 
over it. This monument has numerous pillars and repre- 
sentations of celestial beings, and is said to have cost 
about 6000Z. Several of the marble mausoleums cost 
from 4000/. to 5000/. Yet all the powerful, the wealthy, 
and the poor have descended to the dust from whence 
they sprung ; and here, as everywhere else, nothing can 
disguise the fact that man, the feeble sport of passion 
and infirmity, can only claim for his inheritance at last 
the gloom of a silent grave, where he must sleep with the 
dust of his fathers. I observed only one verse of Scripture 
on a tombstone, and it contained the appropriate prayer, 
** So teach us to number our daysy that we may apply our 
hearts unto vnsdom.^^ 

Having seen the emigrants bid adieu to the Old 
World, in the fluiTy of grief, hope, and excitement, I 
was curious to see what diflerence a five-weeks' voyage 

380 NEW YORK. Chap. X\^I. 

would have produced in them, and in what condition 
they would land upon the shores of America. In a 
city where emigrants land at the rate of a thousand 
a-day, I was not long of finding an opportunity. I wit- 
nessed the debarkation upon the shore of the New World 
of between 600 and 700 English emigrants, who had just 
arrived from Liverpool. If they looked tearful, flurried, 
and anxious when they left Liverpool, they looked tearful, 
pallid, dirty, and squalid when they reached New York. 
The necessary discomforts which such a number of 
persons must experience when huddled together in a 
close, damp, and ill-ventilated steerage, with very little 
change of clothing, and an allowance of water insufficient 
for the purposes of cleanliness, had been increased in this 
instance by the presence of cholera on board of the ship. 

The wharfs at New York are necessarily dirty, and 
are a scene of indescribable bustle from morning to night, 
with ships arriving and sailing, ships loading and unload- 
ing, and emigrants pouring into the town in an almost 
incessant stream. They look as if no existing power 
could bring order out of such a chaos. In this crowd, 
on the shores of a strange land, the emigrants found 
themselves. Many were deplorably emaciated, others 
looked vacant and stupified. Some were ill, and some 
were penniless ; but poverty and sickness are among the 
best recommendations which an emigrant can bring with 
him, for they place him under the immediate notice of 
those estimable and overworked men, the Emigration 
Commissioners, whose humanity is above all praise. 
These find him an asylum in the Emigrants' Hospital, 


on Ward's Island, and despatch him from thence in 
health, with advice and assistance for his future career. 
If he he in health, and have a few dollars in his pocket, 
he becomes the instantaneous prey of emigrant runners, 
sharpers, and keepers of groggeries ; but of this more will 
be said hereafter. 

A great many of these immigrants were evidently from 
country districts, and some from Ireland ; there were a 
few Germans among them, and these appeared the least 
affected by the discomforts of the voyage, and by the 
novel and rather bewildering position in which they found 
themselves. They probably would feel more at home on 
first landing at New York than any of the others, for the 
lower part of the city is to a great extent inhabited by 
Germans, and at that time there were about 2000 
houses where their favourite beverage, lager-heer^ could 
be procured. 

The goods and chattels of the Irish appeared to consist 
principally of numerous red-haired, unruly children, and 
ragged-looking bundles tied round with rope. The Ger- 
mans were generally ruddy and stout, and took as much 
care of their substantial-looking, well-corded, heavy 
chests as though they contained gold. The English ap- 
peared pale and debilitated, and sat helpless and weary- 
looking on their large blue boxes. Here they found 
themselves in the chaotic confusion of this million- 
peopled city, not knowing whither to betake themselves, 
and bewildered by cries of *' Cheap hacks I " " All 
aboard !" " Come to the cheapest house in all the 
world !" and invitations of a similar description. There 
were lodging- touters of every grade of dishonesty, and 

382 NEW YOKK. Chap. XVIL 

men with large placards were hurrying among the crowd, 
offering ^* palace " steamboats and ^* lightning express " 
trains, to whirl them at nominal rates to the Elysian 
Fields of the Far West. It is stated that six-tenths of 
these emigrants are attacked by fever soon after their 
arrival in the New World, but the provision for the 
sick is commensurate with the Wealth and benevolence of 
New York. 

Before leaving the city I was desirous to see some of 
the dwellings of the poor ; I was therefore taken to what 
was termed a poor quarter. One house which I visited 
was approached from an entry, and contained ten rooms, 
which were let to different individuals and families. On 
the lowest floor was an old Irish widow, who had a cata- 
ract in one eye, and, being without any means of support- 
ing herself, subsisted upon a small allowance made to her 
by her son, who was a carter. She was clean, but poorly 
dressed, and the room was scantily furnished. Except 
those who are rendered poor by their idleness and vices, it 
might have been difficult to find a poorer person in the 
city, I was told. Much sympathy was expressed for her, 
and for those who, like her, lived in this poor quarter. 
Yet the room was tolerably large, lofty, and airy, and had 
a window of the ordinary size of those in English dwelling- 
houses. For this room she paid four dollars or 16s. per 
month, a very high rent. It was such a room as in 
London many a respectable clerk, with an income of 150/. 
a year, would think himself fortunate in possessing. 

I could not enter into the feelings of the benevolent 
people of New York when they sympathised with the 
denizens of this locality. I only wished that these gene- 


rous people could have seen the dens in which thousands 
of our English poor live, with little light and less water, 
huddled together, without respect to sex or numbers, in 
small, ill-ventilated rooms. Yet New York has a district 
called the Five Points, fertile in crime, fever, and misery, 
which would scarcely yield the palm for vice and squalor 
to St. Giles's in London, or the Saltmarket in Glasgow. 
A collection of dwellings called the Mud Huts, where 
many coloured people reside, is also an unpleasing feature 
connected with the city. But with abundant employment, 
high wages, and charities on a princely scale for those 
who from accidental circumstances may occasionally 
require assistance, there is no excuse for the squalid 
wretchedness in which a considerable number of persons 
have chosen to sink themselves. 

It is a fact that no Golden Age exists on the other side 
of the water ; that vice and crime have their penalties in 
America as well as in Europe ; and that some of the 
worst features of the Old World are reproduced in the 
New. With all the desire that we may possess to take 
a sanguine view of things, there is something peculiarly 
hopeless about the condition of this class at New York, 
which in such a favourable state of society, and at such 
an early period of American history, has sunk so very 
low. The existence of a "dangerous class" at New 
York is now no longer denied. One person in seven 
of the whole population came under the notice of the 
authorities, either in the ranks of criminals or paupers, in 
1852 ; and it is stated that last year the numbers reached 
an alarming magnitude, threatening danger to the peace 
of society. This is scarcely surprising when we take into 

384 NEW TOSK. Chap. XYII. 

consideration the numbers of persons who land in tUs city 
who have been expatriated for their vices, who are flying 
from the vengeance of outraged law, or who expect in 
the New World to be able to do evil without fear of 

There are the idle and the visionary, who expect to eat 
without working; penniless demagogues, unprincipled 
adventitfcrs, and the renegade outpourings of all Chris- 
tendom; together with those who are enervated and 
demoralised by sickness and evil associates on board ship. 
I could not help thinking, as I saw many of the newly* 
arrived emigrants saunter helplessly into the groggeries, 
that, after spending their money, they would remain at 
New York, and help to swell the numbers of this class. 
These people live by their wits, and lose the little they 
have in drinL This life is worth very little to them ; and 
in spite of Bible and Tract societies, and church missions, 
they know very little of the life to come ; consequently 
they are ready for any mischief, and will imperil their 
existence for a small bribe. Many or most of them are 
Irish Roman Catholics, who, having obtained the franchise 
in many instances by making false affidavits, consider 
themselves at liberty to use the club also.. 

I was at New York at the time of the elections, and 
those of 1854 were attended with unusual excitement, 
owing to the red-hot strife between the Irish Roman Catho- 
lics and the " Know-nothings." This society, established 
with the object of changing the naturalisation laws, and 
curbing the power of popery, had at this period obtained 
a very large share of the public attention, as much from 
the mystery which attended it as from the principles which 


it avowed. To the minds of all there was something 
attractive in a secret organisation, unknown oaths, and 
nocturnal meetings ; and the success which bad attended 
the efforts of the Know-nothings in Massachusetts, and 
others of the States, led many to watch with deep interest 
the result of the elections for the Empire State. Their 
candidates were not elected, but the avowed contest 
between Protestantism and Popery led to considerable 
loss of life. Very little notice of the riots on this occa- 
sion has been taken by the English journalists, though the 
local papers varied in their accounts of the numbers of 
killed and wounded from 45 to 700 I It was known that 
an imeute was expected, therefore I was not surprised, 
one evening early in November, to hear the alarm-bells 
ringing in all directions throughout the city. It was 
stated that a Know-nothing assemblage of about 10,000 
persons had been held iu the Park, and that, in dis- 
persing, they had been fired upon by some Irishmen 
called the Brigade. This was the commencement of 
a sanguinary struggle for the preservation of order. 
For three days a dropping fire of musketry was con- 
tinually to be beard in New York and Williamsburgh, 
and reports of great loss of life on both sides were circu- 
lated. It was stated that the hospital received 170 
wounded men, and that many more were carried off by 
their friends* The military were called out, and, as it was 
five days before quiet was restored, it is to be supposed 
that many lives were lost. I saw two dead bodies myself; 
and in one street or alley by the Five Points, both the side 
walks and the roadway were slippery with blood. Yet 
very little sensation was excited in the upper part of the 


386 NEW YOKK. Chap. XVII. 

town ; people went out and came in as usual ; business 
was not interrupted ; and to questions upon the subject 
the reply was frequently made, " Oh, it's only an election 
riot," showing how painfully common such disturbance 
had become. 

There are many objects of interest in New York and 
its neighbourhood, among others, the Croton aqueduct, a 
work worthy of a great people. It cost about 5,000,000i 
sterling, and by it about 60,000,000 gallons of water are 
daily conveyed into the city. Then there are the prisons 
on Blackwell's Island, the lunatic asylums, the orphan 
asylums, the docks, and many other things; but I 
willingly leave these untouched, as they have been de- 
scribed by other writers. In concluding this brief and 
incomplete account of New York, I may be allowed to 
refer to the preface of this work, and repeat that any 
descriptions which I have given of things or society are 
merely " sketches," and, as such, are liable to the errors 
which always attend upon hasty observation. 

New York, with its novel, .varied, and ever-changing 
features, is calculated to leave a very marked impression 
on a stranger's mind. In one part one can suppose it to 
be a negro town ; in another, a German city ; while a 
strange dreamy resemblance to Liverpool pervades the 
whole. In it there is little repose for the mind, and less 
for the eye, except on the Sabbath-day, which is very 
well observed, considering the widely-diflFering creeds and 
nationalities of the inhabitants. The streets are alive 
with business, retail and wholesale, and present an aspect 
of universal bustle. Flags are to be seen in every direc- 
tion^ the tall masts of ships appear above the houses; 


largo square pieces of calico, with names in scarlet or 
black letters upon them, hang across the streets, to denote 
the whereabouts of some popular candidate or " puffing " 
storekeeper ; and hosts of omnibuses, hacks, drays, and 
railway cars at full speed, ringing bells, terrify unaccus- 
tomed foot-passengers. There are stores of the magnitude 
of bazaars, " daguerrean galleries " by hundreds, crowded 
groggeries and subterranean oyster-saloons, huge hotels, 
coffee-houses, and places of amusement ; while the pave- 
ments present men of every *land and colour, red, black, 
yellow, and white, in every variety of costume and beard, 
and ladies, beautiful and ugly, richly dressed. Then 
there are mud huts, and palatial residences, and streets 
of stately dwelling-houses, shaded, by avenues of ilanthus- 
trees ; waggons discharging goods across the pavements ; 
shops above and cellars below ; railway whistles and 
steamboat bells, telegraph-wires, eight and ten to a post, 
all converging towards Wall Street — ^the Lombard Street 
of New York ; militia regiments in many-coloured uni- 
forms, marching in and out of the city all day ; groups of 
emigrants bewildered and amazed, emaciated with dysen- 
tery and sea-siekness, looking in at the shop-windows ; re- 
presentatives of every nation under heaven, speaking in all 
earth's Babel languages ; and as if to render this cease- 
less pageant of business, gaiety, and change, as far 
removed from monotony as possible, the quick toll of the 
fire alarm-bells may be daily heard, and the huge engines, 
with their burnished equipments and well-trained com- 
panies, may be seen to dash at full speed along the streets 
to the scene of some brilliant conflagration. New York 
is calculated to present as imposing an appearance to 

6 2 

388 NEW TOBK. Chap. XVH. 

an EDglishman as its antiquated namesake does to an 
American, with its age, alenoe, stateliness, and decay. 

The Indian sammer had come and gone, and bright 
frosty weather had succeeded it, when I left this city, in 
which I had received kindness and hospitality which I 
can never forget Mr. Amy, the kind friend who had 
first welcomed me to the States, was my travelling com- 
panion, and at his house near Boston, in the midst of a 
happy family-circle, I spent the short remnant of my time 
before returning to England. 

We left New York just as the sun was setting, frosty 
and red, and ere we had reached Newhaven it was one 
of the finest winter evenings that I had ever seen. The 
moisture upon the windows of the cars froze into innu- 
merable fairy shapes ; the crescent moon and a thousand 
stars shone brilliantly from a deep blue sky; auroras 
flashed and meteors flamed, and, as the fitful light glit- 
tered on many rushing gurgling streams, I had but to 
remember how very beautiful New England was, to give 
form and distinctness to the numerous shapes which we 
were hurrying past. I was recalling the sunny south to 
mind, with its vineyards and magnolia groves, and the 
many scenes of beauty that I had witnessed in America, 
with all the genial kindness which I had experienced from 
many who but a few months ago were strangers, when a 
tipsy Scotch fiddler broke in upon my reveries by an 
attempt to play * Yankee Doodle.' It is curious how 
such a thing can instantly change the nature of the 
thoughts. I remembered speculations, 'cute notioi)s, 
guesses, and calculations ; " All aboard," and " Go 
ahead,'* and " Pile on, skipper ;" sharp eager faces, 



diversities of beards, duellists, pickpockets, and every 
species of adventurer. 

Such recollections were not out of place in Connecticut, 
the centre and soul of what we denominate Yanheeism, 
This state has one of the most celebrated educational 
establishments in the States, Yale College at Newhaven, 
or the City of Elms, famous for its toleration of an annual 
6ght between the citizens and the students, at a noc- 
turnal /^^e in celebration of the burial of Euclid. •The 
phraseology and some of the moral characteristics of 
Connecticut are quite peculiar. It is remarkable for 
learning, the useful arts, successful and energetic mer- 
chants and farmers ; the mythical Sam Slick, the prince 
of pedlars ; and his living equal, Bamum, the prince of 
showmen. A love of good order and a pervading reli- 
gious sentiment appear to accompany great simplicity of 
manners in its rural population, though the Southerners, 
jealous of the virtues of these New Englanders, charge 
upon them the manufacture of wooden nutmegs. This 
state supplies the world with wooden clocks, for which 
the inhabitants of our colonies appear to have a peculiar 
fancy, though at home they are called ^^ Yankee clocks 
what won't go," I have seen pedlars with curiously con- 
structed waggons toiling along even among the Canadian 
clearings, who are stated to belong to a race *^ raised '' 
in Connecticut They are extremely amusing individuals, 
and it is impossible to resist making an investment in 
their goods, as their importunities are urged in such 
ludicrous phraseology. The pedlar can accommodate 
you with everything, from a clock or bible to a penny- 
worth of pins, and takes rags, rabbit and squirrel skins. 

390 BOSTON. Chap. XVII. 

at two cents each, in payment. His knowledge of "soft 
sawder and human natur " is as great as that of Sam 
Slick, his inimitable representative ; and many a shoeless 
Irish girl is induced to change a dollar for some trumpery 
ornament, by his artful compliments to her personal 
attractions. He seems at home everywhere ; talks 
politics, guesses your needs, cracks a joke, or condoles 
with you on your misfortunes with an elongated face. . He 
always contrives to drop in at dinner or tea time, for 
which he always apologises,' but in distant settlements the 
apologetic formulary might be left alone, for the visit of 
the cosmopolitan pedlar is ever welcome, even though he 
leaves you a few dollars poorer. There is some fear of 
the extinction of the race, as railways are now bringing 
the most distant localities within reach of resplendent 
stores with plate-glass windows. 

It wanted six hours to dawn when we reached Boston ; 
and the ashes of an extinguished fire in the cheerless 
waiting-room at the depot gave an idea of even greater 
cold than really existed. We drove through the silent 
streets of Boston, and out into the country, in an open 
carriage, with the thermometer many degrees below the 
freezing-point, yet the dryness of- the atmosphere pre- 
vented any feeling of cold. The air was pure, still, and 
perfectly elastic; a fitful aurora lighted our way, and 
the iron hoofs of the fast-trotting ponies rattled cheerily 
along the frozen ground. I almost regretted the ter- 
mina^tion of the drive, even though the pleasant villa 

of , and a room lighted by a blazing wood fire, 

awaited me. 

The weather was perfectly delightful Goudless and 

Chap. XVII. BOSTON. 391 

golden the sun set at night ; cloudless and rosy he rose in 
the morning; sharp and defined in outline the leafless 
trees rose against the piercing blue of the sky ; the frozen 
ground rang to every footstep ; thin patches of snow 
diversified the landscape; and the healtliful air braced 
even invalid nerves. Boston is a very fine city, and the 
whole of it, spread out as a panorama, can be seen from 
several neighbouring eminences. The rosy flush of a 
winter dawn had scarcely left the sky when I saw the 
town jfrom Dorchester Heights. Below lay the city, an 
aggregate of handsome streets lined with trees, stately 
public buildings, and church-spires, with the lofty State 
House crowning the whole. Bright blue water and 
forests of masts appeared to intersect the town ; green, 
wooded, swelling elevations, dotted over with white villa 
residences, environed it in every direction ; blue hills 
rose far in the distance; while to the right the bright 
waters of Massachusett's bay, enlivened by the white 
sails of ships and pilot-boats, completed this attractive 

Boston is built on a collection of peninsulas ; and as 
certain shipowners possess wharfs far up in the town, to 
which their ships must find their way, the virtue of 
patience is frequently inculcated by a long detention at 
drawbridges, while heavily-laden vessels are slowly warped 
through the openings. The equanimity of the American 
character surprised me here, as it often had before ; for, 
while I was devising various means of saving time, by 
taking various circuitous routes, about 100 ditenus sub- 
mitted to the delay without evincing any symptoms of 
impatience. Part of Boston is built on ground reclaimed 

392 BOSTON. Chap. XVII. 

from the sea, and the active inhabitants continually keep 
encroaching oa the water for building purposes. 

This fine city appeared to greater advantage on my 
second visit, after seeing New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, 
and other of the American towns. In them their progress 
is evidenced by a ceaseless building up and pulling down, 
the consequences of which are heaps of rubbish and un- 
sightly hoardings covered with bills and advertisements, 
giving to the towns thus circumstanced an unfinished, 
mobile, or temporary look. This is still further increase^ 
where many of the houses are of wood, and can be moved 
M'ithout being taken to pieces. I was riding through an 
American town one afternoon, when, to my surprise, I had 
to turn off upon the side walk, to avoid a house which was 
coming down the street, drawn by ten horses, and assisted 
by as many men with levers. My horse was so perfectly 
unconcerned at what was such a novel spectacle to me, 
that I supposed he was used to these migratory dwellings. 

Boston has nothing of all this. Stately, substantial, and 
handsome, it looks as if it had been begun and completed 
in a day. There is a most pleasing air of respectability 
about the large stone and brick houses; the stores are 
spacious and very handsome ; and the public buildings are 
durably and tastefully built. Scientific institutions, music 
halls, and the splendid stores possessed by the booksellers 
and philosophical instrument makers, proclaim the lite- 
rary and refined tastes of the inhabitants, which have 
earned for their city the name of the " American Athens.** 
There is an air of repose about Boston ; here, if anywhere, 
one would suppose that large fortunes were realised and 
enjoyed. The sleek horses do not appear to be huiTied 

Chap. XVII. BOSTON. 393 

over the pavements; there are few placards, and fewer 
puflfe ; the very carts are huilt rather to carry weight than 
for speed. Yet no place which I visited looked more 
thriving than Boston. Its streets are literally crammed 
with vehicles, and the side walks are thronged with 
passengers^ but these latter are principally New Eng- 
landers, of respectable appearance. These walks are 
bordered by acacia and elm trees, which seem to flourish 
in the most crowded thoroughfares, and, besides protecting 
both men and horses from the intense heat, their green- 
ness, which they retain till the fall, is most refreshing to the 
eye. There are a great many private carriages to be seen, 
as well as people on horseback. The dwelling-houses have 
plate-glass windows and bright green jalousies ; the side 
walks are of granite, and the whole has an English air. 
The common, or rather the park, at Boston, is the finest 
public promenade that I ever saw, about fifty acres in 
extent, and ornamented with avenues of very fine trees. 
This slopes to the south, and the highest part of the slope 
is crowned by the State House and the handsomest private 
residences in the city. Boston is very clean and orderly, 
and smoking is not permitted in the streets. There is a 
highly aristocratic air about it, and those who look for 
objects of historical interest will not be disappointed. 
There is the old Faneuil Hall, which once echoed to the 
stormy arguments and spirit-stirring harangues of the 
leaders of the Revolution. A few antiquated, many- 
gabled houses, remain in its neighbourhood, each associated 
with some tradition dear to the Americans. Then there 
is a dark-coloured stone church, which still in common 
parlance bears the name of King's Chapel. It is fitted 

8 3 

394 BUNKER'S HILL. Chap. XVn. 

with Ugh pews of daric ymmished oak, and the Englidi 
liturgy, slightly altered, is still used as the fonu of wor- 
ship. Then there is the Old Soath Meeting house, where 
the inhabitants remonstrated with the gOTemor for bring- 
ing in the king's troops; and, lastly, Griffin's Wharf, 
where, under the impulse of the stem concentrated will of 
the New England character, the ** Sons of Liberty '* 
boarded the English ships, and slowly and deliberately 
threw the tea which they contained into the water of the 

I visited the Bunker's ECU monument, and was content 
to take on trust the statement of the beauty of the view 
firom the summit^ as the monument, which is 221 feet in 
height, is ascended by a very steep staircase. Neither 
did I deny the statement made by the patriotic Americans 
who were with me, that the British forces were defeated in 
that place, not feeling at all sure that the national pride 
of our historians had not led them to tell a tale more 
flattering than true ; for 

" Some say that we won, 
And some say that they won, 
And some say that none won at a', man." 

We visited the naval yard at Charlestown, and the 
Ohio^ an old seventy-four, now used as a receiving-ship. 
There was a very manifest difference between the two 
sides of the main-deck of this vessel ; one was scrupulously 
clean, the other by no means so ; and, on inquiring the 
reason, 1 was told that the clean side was reserved for 
strangers! Although this yard scarcely deserves the 
name of an arsenal, being the smallest of all which 

Chap. XVIL BOSTON^ 395 

America possesses, the numerous guns and the piles of 
cannon-balls show that she is not unprepared for ag- 
gressive or defensive war. 

The Merchants' Exchange, where every change in the 
weather at New Orleans is known in a few minutes ; the 
Post-OflSce, with its innumerable letter-boxes and endless 
bustle ; the Tremont Hall, one of the finest music-halls in 
the world; the water- works, the Athenaeum, and the 
libraries, are all worthy of a visit. 

There is a museum, which we visited in the evening, 
but it is not creditable to the taste of the inhabitants of 
this fine city. There are multitudes of casts and fossils, 
and stuffed beasts and birds, and monsters, and a steam- 
eu^ne modelled in glass, which works beautifully ; but 
all these things are to hide the real character of this 
institution, and appeared to be passed unnoticed by a 
large number of respectable-looking people who were 
thronging into a theatre at the back — a very gloomy- 
looking edifice, with high pews. A placard announced 
that Dickens' ^Ilard TimeB^ which it appears from this 
has been dramatised, was about to be acted. The plays 
are said to be highly moral, but in the melodrama religion 
and buffoonery are often intermingled ; and I confess 
that I did not approve of this mode of solacing the 
consciences of those who object to ordinary theatricals, 
for the principle involved remains the same. • 

llie National Theatre is considered so admirably 
adapted for seeing, hearing, and accommodation, that it is 
frequently visited by European architects. An American 
friend took me to see it in the evening, when none are 
admitted but those who are going to remain for the 

396 BOSTOir. Chap. XTD. 

performance* Tliis being the rule, the doOTkeeper 
politely opposed our entrance; but on my companion 
stating that I was a stranger, he instantly admitted us, 
and pointed out the best position for seeing the edifice. 
The theatre, which has four tiers of boxes, was handscHne 
in the extreme, and brilliantly lighted ; but I thought it 
calculated to produce the same efiect of dizziness and 
headache, ad those who frequent our House of Peers 
experience from the glare and reduadant decoration. 

This was one among the many instances where the 
name of stranger produced a magic effect It appeared 
as if doors which would not open to anything else, yielded 
at once to a request urged in that sacred name. This 
was tlie case at the Mount Auburn Cemetery, where the 
gatekeeper permitted us as strangers to drive round in a 
carriage, which is contrary to rule, and on no occasion 
would those- who so courteously obliged us accept of any 

There is some rivalry on the part of the people of 
Boston and New York with regard to the beauty of their 
cemeteries. Many travellers have pronounced the ceme- 
tery of Mount Auburn to be the loveliest in the world ; 
but both it and that of Greenwood are so beautiful, that 
it is needless to ^' hint a fault or hesitate a dislike" with 
regard to either. Mount Auburn has verdant slopes, 
and deep wild dells, and lakes shaded by forest*-trees of 
great size and beauty ; and so silent is it, far removed , 
from the din of cities, that it seems as if a single footstep' 
would disturb the sleep of the dead. Here the neglects- 
fulness and dreariness of the outer aspect of the grave 
are completely done away with, and the dead lie peace- 

TT^a — ■ *^-fc* 


fully under ground carpeted with flowers, and shaded by 
trees. The simplicity of the monuments is very beautiful ; 
that to Spurzheim has merely his name upon the tablet. 
Fulton, Channing, and other eminent men are buried 

New York is celebrated for frequent and mysterious 
conflagrations ; so are all the American cities in a less 
degree. This is very surprising to English people, many 
of whom scarcely know a fire-engine by sight. Boston, 
though its substantial erections of brick and stone present 
great obstacles to the progress of the devouring element, 
frequently displays these unwished-for illuminations, and 
has some very well organized fire companies. These 
companies, which are voluntary associations, are one of 
the important features of the States. The Quakers had 
the credit of originating them. Being men of peace, 
they could not bear arms in defence of their country, 
and exchanged militia service for the task of extin- 
guishing all the fires caused by the wilfulness or care- 
lessness of their fellow-citizens. This has been no easy 
task in cities built of wood, which in that dry climate, 
when ignited, burns like pine-knots. Even now, fires 
occur in a very unaccountable manner. At New York 
my slumbers were frequently disturbed by the quick- 
tolling bell, announcing the number of the district where 
a fire had broken out. These fire companies have regular 
organizations, and their members enjoy several immuni- 
ties, one of which I think is, that they are not compelled 
to serve as jurymen. 

They are principally composed of young men, some of 
them the wilder members of the first families in the cities. 


Their dresses are suitable and picturesque, and, with the 
brilliant painting and highly-polished brasses of their 
large engines, they form one of the most imposing parts 
of the annual pageant of the ** Glorious Fourth.*' The 
fireman who first reaches the scene of action is captain for 
tlie night, and this honour is so much coveted, as to lead 
them often to wait, ready equipped, during the winter 
nights, that they may be able to start forth at the first 
sound of the bell. There is sufficient dangerous adven- 
ture, and enough of thrilling incident, to give the occupa- 
tion a charm in the eyes of the eager youth of the cities. 
They like it far better than playing at soldiers, and are 
popular in every city. As their gay and glittering pro- 
cessions pass along the streets, acclamations greet their 
progress, and enthusiastic ladies shower flowers upon their 
heads. They are generous, courageous, and ever ready 
in the hour of danger. But there is a dark side, to this 
picture. They are said to be the foci of political en- 
croachment and intrigue, and to be the centre of the 
restless and turbulent spirits of all classes So powerful 
and dangerous have they become in many instances, that 
it has been recently stated in an American paper, that 
one of the largest and most respectable cities in the Union 
has found it necessary to suppress them. 

The Blind Asylum is one of the noblest charitable 
institutions of Boston. It is in a magnificent situation, 
overlooking all the beauties of Massachusett's Bay. It 
is principally interesting as being the residence of Laura 
Bridgman, the deaf and blind mute, whose history has 
interested so many in England. I had not an opportunity 
of visiting this asylum till the morning of the day on 


which I sailed for Europe, and had no opportunity of 
conversing with this interesting girl, as she was just 
leaving for the country. I saw her preceptor. Dr. Howe, 
whose untiring exertions on her behalf she has so wonder- 
fully rewarded. He is a very lively, energetic man, and 
is now devoting himself to the improvement of the con- 
dition of idiots, in which already he has been extremely 

Laura is an elegant-looking girl, and her features, for- 
merly so vacant, are now animated and full of varying 
expression. She dresses herself with great care and neat- 
ness, and her fair hair is also braided by herself. There 
is nothing but what is pleasing in her appearance, as her 
eyes are covered with small green shades. She is about 
twenty-three, and is not so cheerful as she formerly was^ 
perhaps because her health is not good, or possibly that 
she feels more keenly the deprivations under which she 
labours. She is very active in her movements,- and fabri- 
cates numerous useful and ornamental articles, which she 
disposes of for her mother's benefit. She is very useful 
among the other pupils, and is well informed with regard 
to various branches of useful knowledge. She is com- 
pletely matter-of-fact in all her ideas, as Dr. Howe 
studiously avoids all imagery and illustration in his in- 
structions, in order not to embarrass her mind by complex 
images. It is to be regretted that she has very few ideas 
on the subject of religion. 

. One of the most interesting places to me in the vicinity 
of Boston was the abode of General Washington. It be- 
came his residence in 1775, and here he lived while the 
struggle for freedom was going on in the neighbourhood. 


It is one of the largest villas in the vicinity of Boston, 
and has side verandahs resting on wooden pillars, and a 
large garden in front Some very venerable elms adjoin 
the house, and the grounds are laid out in the fashion 
which prevailed at that period. The room where W'ash* 
ington penned his famous despatches is still held sacred 
by the Americans. Their veneration for this renowned 
champion of independence has something almost idolatrous 
about it. It is very fortunate that the greatest character 
in American history should be also the best. Christian, 
patriot, legislator, and soldier, he deserved his mother's 
proud boast, " I know that wherever George Washington 
is, he is doing his duty.*' His character needed no lapse 
of years to shed a glory round it ; the envy of contem- 
porary writers left it stainless, and succeeding historians, 
with their pens dipped in gall, have not been able to sully 
the lustre of a name which is one of the greatest which 
that or any age has produced.' 

This mansion has, however, an added interest, from 
being the residence of the poet Longfellow. In addition 
to his celebrity as a poet, he is one of the most elegant 
scholars which America has produced, and, until recently, 
held the professorship of modern languages at the neigh- 
bouring university of Cambridge. It would be out of 
place here to criticise his poetry. Although it is very 
unequal and occasionally fantastic, and though in one of 
his greatest poems the English language appears to dance 
in chains in the hexameter, many of his shorter pieces 
well upwards from the heart, in a manner which is likely 
to ensure durable fame for their author. The truth, 
energy, and earnestness of his * Psalm of Life ' and 


* Goblet of Life/ have urged many forward in the fight, 
to whom the ponderous sublimity of Milton is a dead 
language, and the metaphysical lyrics of Tennyson are 
unintelligible. It appeared to me, from what I heard, 
that his fame is even greater in England than in his own 
country, where it is in some danger of being eclipsed by 
that of Bryant and Lowell. He is extremely courteous 
to strangers, and having kindly offered, through a friend, 
to show me Cambridge University, 1 had an opportunity 
of making his acquaintance. 

I have been frequently asked to describe his personal 
appearance, and disappointment has frequently been ex-: 
pressed at the portrait which truth compels me to give of 
him. He is neither tall, black-haired, nor pale ; he neither 
raises his eyes habitually to heaven, nor turns down his 
shirt-collar. He does not wear a look of melancholy 
resignation, neither does he live in love-gilded poverty, in 
a cottage embosomed in roses. On the contrary, he is 
about the middle height, and is by no means thin. He 
has handsome features, merry blue eyes, and a ruddy 
complexion ; he lives in a large mansion, luxuriously fur- 
nished ; and, besides having a large fortune, is the father 
of six blooming children. In- short, his appearance might 
be considered jovial, were it not so extremely gentle^ 

Mr. Longfellow met us at the door, with that urbanity 
which is so agreeable a feature in his character, and, on 
being shown into a very handsome library, we were intro- 
duced to Mrs. Longfellow, a lady of dignified appearance 
and graceful manner. She is well known as the Mary of 
Hyperion; and after a due degree of indignation with 


the author of that graceful and poetical book, she re- 
warded his constancy and devotion with her hand. The 
library was panelled in the old style, and a large collec* 
tion of books was arranged in recesses in the wall ; but 
the apartment eridently serred the purposes of library 
and boudoir, for there were numerous evidences of female 
taste and occupation. Those who think that American 
children are all precocious little men and women would 
have been surprised to see the door boisterously thrown 
open by a little blooming boy, who scrambled mirthfully 
upon his father^s knee, as though used to be there, and 
asked him to whittle a stick for him. 

It is not often that the conversation of an author is 
equal in its way to his writings, therefore I expected in 
Mr. Longfellow's case the disappointment which I did not 
meet with. He touched lightly on various subjects, and 
embellished each with the ease and grace of an accom- 
plished scholar, and, doubtless in kindly compliment to an 
English visitor, related several agreeable reminiscences 
of acquaintanceships formed with some of our literati 
during a brief visit to England. He spoke with much 
taste and feeling of European antiquities, and of the ab- 
sence of them in the New World, together with the effect 
produced by the latter upon the Ammcan character. He 
said that nothing could give him greater pleasure than a 
second visit to Eiurope, but that there were *^ six obstacles 
in the way of its taking place." 

With him as a very able cicerone I had the pleasure of 
visiting Cambridge University, which reminded me more 
of England than anything I saw in America ; indeed there 
are features in which it is not unlike its English name- 


sake. It has no Newtonian or Miltonian shades, but in 
another century the names of those who fill a living age 
with lustre will have their memorials among its academic 
groves. There are several halls of dark stone or red 
brick, of venerable appearance, and there are avenues of 
stately elms. The library is a fine Gothic edifice, and 
contains some valuable manuscripts and illuminated edi- 
tions of old works. There was a small copy of the four 
evangelists, written in characters resembling print, but so 
small that it cannot be read without a magmfying glass. 
This volume was the labour of a lifetime, and the trans- 
criber completed his useless task upon his deathbed. 
While Mr. Longfellow was showing me some autographs 
of American patriots, I remarked that as I was showing 
some in a Canadian city, a gentleman standing by, on 
seeing the signature of the Protector, asked, in the most 
innocent ignorance, who Oliver Cromwell was ? A lady 
answered that he was a successful rebel in the olden 
time 1 "If you are asked the question a second time," 
observed the poet, who doubtless fully appreciates the 
greatness of Cromwell, "say that he was an eminent 

Altogether there is very much both of interest and 
beauty in Boston and its environs ; and I was repeatedly 
told that I should have found the society more agreeable 
than that of New York. With the exception of visits 
paid to the houses of Longfellow and the late Mr. Abbott 
Lawrence, I did not see any of the inhabitants of Boston, 
as I only spent three days in the neighbourhood ; but at 
Mr. Amy's house I saw what is agreeable in any country, 
more especially in a land of transition and change — a 


happy American home. The people of this western 
Athens pride themselves upon the intellectual society 
and the number of eminent men which they possess, 
among whom may be named Longfellow^ Emerson, 
Lowell, Dana, and Summer. One of these at least is of 
the transcendental school. I very much regretted that 
I had not more time to devote to a city so rich in various 
objects of interest ; but the northern winter had already 
begun, and howling winds and angry seas warned me 
that it was time to join my friends at Halifax, who were 
desirous to cross the " vexed Atlantic " before the wea- 
ther became yet more boisterous. 





Origin of the Constitution — The Executive — Congress — Local Legis- 
latures — The army and navy — Justice — Slavery — Political cor- 
ruption — The foreign element — Absence of principle — Associations 
— The Know-nothings — The Press and its power ^ Religion — 
The Church — The Clergy. 

Before concluding this volume it will be proper to offer 
a few remarks upon American institutions, and such of 
their effects as are obvious to a temporary resident in the 
States. In apology for my own incompetence, I must 
again remind the reader that these are merely surface 
observations, offered in accordance with the preface to 
this work. 

The Constitution demands the first notice. When our 
American colonies succeeded in throwing off the yoke of 
England, it became necessary for them to choose a form, 
of government. No country ever started under such 
happy auspices. It had just concluded a successful 
struggle with one of the greatest empires in the world ; 
its attitude of independence was sympathised with by the 
enthusiastic spirits of Europe, and had even gained the 
respect of that upright monarch, who, on receiving the 
first ambassador from his revolted colonies, addressed him 
with these memorable words : — " I was the last man in 
England to acknowledge the independence of America ; 
but, being secured, I shall be the last man in England to 


violate it." Thus circumstanced, each of the thirteen 
States, with the exception of Rhode Island, sent delegates 
to Philadelphia to deliberate on the form of government 
which should be adopted. This deliberative assembly of 
a free people presented a sublime spectacle in the eyes of 
nations. After two years of consideration, atid consider- 
able differences of opinion, it was decided that the mo- 
narchical traditions of the Old World were effete and 
obsolete ; and accordingly a purely Republican Constitu- 
tion was promulgated, under which the United States 
have become a rich and powerful nation. It is grati- 
fying to an English person to know that the Constitution 
of the States was derived in great measure from that 
of England, enlarged, and divested of those which were 
deemed its objectionable features. The different States 
had previously possessed local assemblies, and gover- 
nors, and the institutions connected with slavery; the 
last remain to this day in pretty much the same state 
as when they were bequeathed by England to America, 
Washington entered upon the office of President in 1789^ 
and discharged its duties, as he did those of every other 
station, with that high-souled and disinterested patriotism 
which render him as worthy to be imitated as adrhired. 

There are three authorities, the President, the Senate, 
and the House of Representatives, all elected by the 
people ; thus their acts are to a certain extent expressive 
of the popular will. 

The President is elected by universal suffrage, once in 
four years. He receives a salary of 5000/. per annum, 
and is assisted by five secretaries, who, with two other 
executive officers, are paid at the rate of 1600/. a-year. 

Chap. XVIII. CONGEESfik 407 

This officer has considerable power and enormous pa- 
tronage. He makes treaties, which merely require the 
ratification of the Senate ; he grants pardons, and may 
place his veto on the acts of the two other estates, pro- 
vided that they have not been returned by two-thirds of 
the members of the respective houses. 

There are sixty-two Senators, or two from each State. 
These are elected by the local legislatures for a terra of 
six years, and one-third of the number retire every two 
years. Each Senator must be thirty years of age ; he 
must be a resident of the State which he represents, and 
he must have been naturalised for nine years. 

The Lower House, or House of Representatives, is 
perhaps the m»st purely popular body in the world. The 
members are elected for two years by universal suflFrage, 
that is, by the votes of all the free male citizens of 
America who have attained the age of 21. Each 
member of the Lower House must have been naturalised 
for seven years, and he must have passed the age of 25. 
Population has been taken as the basis of representation, 
in the following very simple manner. The number of 
Representatives was fixed by Act of Congress at 233, 
although a new one has recently been added for Cali- 
fornia. The aggregate representative population (by the 
last decennial enumeration, 21,767,673) is taken, and 
divided by 233 ; and the quotient, rejecting fractions, is 
the ratio of apportionment among the several States. The 
representative population o^each State is then ascer- 
tained, and is divided by the above named ratio, and the 
quotieqj: gives the number of representatives to each State. 
The State of New York, being the most populous, pos- 


868868 33 representatives ; two of the States, namely, De- 
laware and Florida, require no more than one each. On 
a rough calculation, each member represents about 90,000 
persons. The two houses together are named Congress, 
and the members of both receive 32s. per diem for their 
attendance, without deduction in case of sickness, in 
addition to travelling expenses. All measures of legisla- 
tion and taxation must receive the approval of the Pre- 
sident and the Congress, the majority in Congress 
representing the popular will. Every State has its as- 
sembly and governor, and to a certain extent has power 
to make its own laws. The members of these assemblies, 
the governors of the States, and the mayors and muni- 
cipal o£5cers of the cities, are all elected by universal 

No system of direct taxation is adopted in the States, 
except for local purposes. The national revenue is 
derived from customs duties, on many articles so high 
as to amount to protective duties ; from the sale of wild 
lands ; and from one or two other sources. The annual 
revenue of the country is about 12,000,0007., and the 
expenditure is under the income. The state officials are 
rather poorly paid. The chief ambassadors do not re- 
ceive more than 1800/. per annum, and the chief justice, 
whose duties are certainly both arduous and responsible, 
only receives a salary of 1000/. a year. The principal 
items of expenditure are connected with the army and 
navy, and the officers' in both these services are amply 
remunerated. The United States navy is not so power- 
ful as might be expected from such a maritime ^people. 
There are only twelve ships of the line and twelve first- 

Chap. XVIII. THE ARMY. 409 

class frigates, including receiving-ships and those on the 

The standing army consists of 10,000 men, and is 
regarded with some jealousy by the mass of the people. 
The pay in this branch of the service varies from that of 
a major-general, which is 1000/. a year, to that of a 
private, which is about Is, 6d. a day. This last is larger 
than it appears, as it is not subject to the great deduc- 
tions which are made from that of an English soldier. 
The real military strength of America consists of an 
admirably trained militia force of about 2,200,000 men, 
supported at an enormous expense. This large body is 
likely to prove invincible for defensive purposes, as it is 
composed of citizens trained to great skill as marksmen, 
and animated by the strongest patriotism; but it is to 
be hoped that it also furnishes a security against an 
offensive war on a large scale, as it is scarcely likely 
that any great number of men would abandon their busi- 
ness and homes for any length of time for aggressive 

The highest court of law in the United States is the 
Supreme Court, which holds one annual session at Wash- 
ington. It is composed of a chief justice and eight 
associate justices, and is the only power not subjected 
directly or indirectly to the will of the people. The 
United States are divided into nine judicial circuits, in 
each of which a Circuit Court is held twice a year by a 
justice of the Supreme Court, assisted by the district 
judge of the State in which the court sits. There is, 
however, a great weakness both about the Executive and 
the administration of justice, the consequence of which is, 



that, when a measure is placed upon the statute-book 
which is supposed to be obnoxious to any powerful class, 
a league is formed by private individuals for the purpose 
of enforcing it, or in some cases it would become a dead 
letter. The powerful societies which are formed to secure 
the working of the ^^ Maine Law^* will occur at once to 
English readers. 

£ach State possesses a distinct governmental machinery 
of its own, consisting of a Governor, a Senate, and a 
House of Representatives. The Governor is elected by a 
majority of the votes of the male citizens for a term of 
years, varying in different States from one to four. The 
Senators are elected for like periods, and the Representa- 
tives are chosen for one or two years. The largest number 
of Representatives for any one State is 356. 

Nearly all power in the United States is held to a 
great extent on popular sufferance ; it emanates from the 
vnll of the majority, no matter liow vicious or how igno- 
rant that majority may be. In some cases this leads to a 
slight alteration of the Latin axiom, Salus populi est su- 
prema lex^ which may be read, " the will of the people 
is the supreme law." The American constitution is 
admirable in theory; it enunciates the incontrovertible 
principle, *' All men are free and equal." But unfortu- 
nately, a serious disturbing element, and one which by 
its indirect effects threatens to bring the machinery 
of the Republic to a " dead lock," appears not to have 
entered into the calculations of these political theorists. 

This element is slavery, which exists in fifteen out of 
thirty-one states, and it is to be feared that by a recent 
act of the legislature the power to extend it is placed in 

Chap. XVIII. SLAVERY. 411 

the hands of the majority, should that majority declare 
for it, in the new States. The struggle between the 
advocates of freedom and slavery is now convulsing 
America ; it has already led to outrage and bloodshed 
in the State of Kansas, and appearances seem to indicate 
a prolonged and disastrous conflict between the North and 
South. The question is one which cannot be passed over 
by any political party in the States. Perhaps it may 
not be universally known in England that slavery is a 
part of the ratified Constitution of the States, and that 
the Government is bound to maintain it in its integrity. 
Its abolition must be procured by an important change 
in the constitution, which would shake, and might dislo* 
cate, the vast and unwieldy Republic. Each State, I 
believe, has it in its power to abolish slavery within its 
own limits, but the Federal Government has no power 
to introduce a modification of the system in any. The 
federal compact binds the Government " not to meddle 
with slavery in the States where it exists, to protect 
the owners in the case of runaway slaves, and to defend 
them in the event of invasion or domestic violence on 
account of it." Thus the rights and property in slaves 
of the slaveholders are legally guaranteed to them hy the 
Constitution of the United States. At the last census the 
slaves amounted to more than 3,000,000, or about an 
eighth of the population, and constitute an alien body, 
neither exercising the privileges nor animated by the sen- 
timents of the rest of the commonwealth. Slavery at 
this moment, as it is the curse and the shame, is also the 
canker of the Union. By it, by the very constitution of 
a country which proudly boasts of freedom, three millions 

T 2 

412 SLAVERY. Chap. XVIII. 

of intelligent and responsible beings are reduced to tbe 
level of mere property — property legally reclaimable, too, 
in the Free States by an act called the Fugitive Slave Act. 
That there are slaveholders amiable, just, and humane, 
there is not a doubt ; but slavery in its practice as a 
system deprives these millions of knowledge, takes away 
from them the Bible, keeps a race in heathen ignorance 
in a Christian land, denies to the slaves compensation for 
their labour, the rights of marriage and of the parental 
relation, which are respected even among the most savage 
nations ; it sustains an iniquitous internal slave-trade — it 
corrupts the owners, and casts a slur upon the dignity of 
labour. It acts as an incubus on public improvement, 
and vitiates public morals ; and it proves a very formid- 
able obstacle to religion, advancement, and national 
unity ; and so long as it shall remain a part of the 
American constitution, it gives a living lie to the im- 
posing declaration, " All men are free and equal." 

Where the whole machinery of government is capable 
of being changed or modified by the will of the people 
while the written constitution remains, and where here- 
ditary and territorial diflFerences of opinion exist on very 
important subjects, it is not surprising that party spirit 
should run very high. Where the highest oflSces in the 
State are neither lucrative enough nor permanent enough 
to tempt ambition — where, in addition, their occupants 
are appointed by the President merely for a short term — 
antl where the highest dignity frequently precedes a life- 
long obscurity, the notoriety of party leadership offers a 
great inducement to the aspiring. Party spirit pervades 
the middle and lower ranks; every man, almost every 


woman, belongs to some party or other, and aspires to 
some political influence. 

Any person who takes a prominent part either in local 
or general politics is attacked on the platform and by the 
press, with a fierceness, a scurrility, and a vulgarity which 
spare not even the sanctity of private life. The men of 
wealth, education, and talent, who have little either to 
gain or lose, and who would not yield up any carefully 
adopted principle to the insensate clamour of an unbridled 
populace, stand aloof from public affairs, with very few 
exceptions. The men of letters, the wealthy merchants, 
the successful in any profession, are not to be met with in 
the political arena, and frequently abstain even from voting 
at the elections. This indisposition to mix in politics 
probably arises both from the coarse abuse which assails 
public men, and from the admitted inability, under present 
circumstances, to stem the tide of corrupt practices, mob- 
law, and intimidation, which are placing the United 
States under a tyranny as severe as that of any privileged 
class — the despotism of a turbulent and unenlightened 
majority. Numbers are represented exclusively, and 
partly in consequence, property, character, and stake in 
the country are the last things which would be deemed 
desirable in a candidate for popular favour. 

Owing to the extraordinary influx of foreigners, an ele- 
ment has been introduced which could scarcely have 
entered into the views of the framers of the Constitution, 
and is at this time the great hindrance to its benefimal 
working. The large numbers of Irish Romanists who 
have emigrated to the States, and whose feelings are too 
often disaffected and anti- American, evade the naturalisa- 


tion laws, and, by surreptitiously obtaining votes, exercise 
a most mischievous influence upon the elections. Edu- 
cation has not yet so permeated the heterogeneous mass 
of the people as to tell effectually upon their choice of 
representatives. The electors are caught by claptrap, 
noisy declamation, and specious promises, coupled with 
laudatory comments upon the sovereign people. As the 
times for the elections approach, the candidates of the 
weaker party endeavour to obtain favour and notoriety by 
leading a popular cry. The declamatory vehemence with 
which certain members of the democratic party endea- 
voured to fasten a quarrel upon England at the close of 
1855 is a specimen of the political capital which is too 
often relied upon in the States. 

The enormous numbers of immigrants who annually 
acquire the rights of citizenship, without any other quali- 
fication for the franchise than their inability to use it 
aright, by their ignorance, turbulence, and often by their 
viciousness, tend still further to degrade the popular 
assemblies. It is useless to speculate upon the position 
in which America would be without the introduction of 
this terrible foreign element; it may be admitted that 
the republican form of government has not had a fair trial ; 
its present state gives rise to serious doubts in the minds 
of many thinking men in the States, whether it can long 
continue in its present form. 

The want of the elements of permanency in the Govern- 
ment keeps many persons from entering into public life : 
and it would appear that merit and distinguished talent, 
when accompanied by such a competence as renders a 
man independent of the emoluments of office, are by no 


means a passport to success. The stranger vi^ting the 
United States is surprised with the entire absence of 
gentlemanly feeliiig in political affairs. They are per- 
vaded by a coarse and repulsive vulgarity ; they are 
seldom alluded to in the conversation of the upper classes ; 
and the ruling power in this vast community is in danger 
of being abandoned to corrupt agitators and noisy char- 
latans. The President, the Members of Congress, 
and to a still greater extent the members of the State 
Le^slatures, are the delegates of a tyrannical majority 
rather than the representatives of the people. The mil- 
lion succeeds in exacting an amount of cringing political 
subserviency, in attempting to obtain which, in a like 
degree, few despots have been successful. 

The absence of a property qualification, the short term 
for which the representatives are chosen, and the want, in 
many instances, of a pecuniary independence among them, 
combined with a variety of other circumstances, place the 
members of the Legislatures under the direct control of 
the populace ; they are its servile tools, and are subject 
to its wayward impulses and its proverbial fickleness ; 
hence the remarkable absence of any fixed line of policy. 
Tlie public acts of America are isolated ; they appear to 
be framed for the necessities of the moment, under the 
influence of popular clamour or pressure ; and sometimes 
seem neither to recognise engagements entered into in the 
past, or the probable course of events in the future. 
America does not possess a traditional policy, and she 
does not recognise any broad and well-defined principle 
as the rule for her conduct. The national acts of spo- 
liation or meanness which have been sanctioned by the 


Legislature may be distinctly traced to the manner in 
which the primary elections are conducted. It is difficult, 
if not impossible, for the European governments to do 
more than guess at the part which America will take on 
any great question — whether, in the event of a collision 
between nations, she will observe an impartial neutrality, 
or throw the weight of her influence into the scale of 
liberty or despotism. 

It is to be feared that political morality is in a very 
low state. The ballot secures the electors from even the 
breath of censure by making them irresponsible ; few men 
dare to be independent. The plea of expediency is often 
used in extenuation of the grossest political dishonesty. 
To obtain political favour or position a man must stoop 
very low ; he must cultivate the good will of the ignorant 
and the vicious; he must excite and minister to the pas- 
sions of the people ; He must flatter the bad, and assail 
the honourable with unmerited opprobrium. While he 
makes the assertion that his country has a monopoly of 
liberty, the very plan which he is pursuing shows that it 
is fettered by mob rule. No honourable man can use 
these arts, which are, however, a high-road to political 
eminence. It is scarcely necessary to remark upon the 
effect which is produced in society generally by this poli- 
tical corruption. 

The want of a general and high standard of morality 
is very apparent. That dishonesty which is so notoriously 
and often successfully practised in political life is not ex- 
cluded from the dealings of man with man. 

It is jested about under the name of '^ smartness," and 
commended under that of " 'cuteness/' till the rule be- 


comes of frequent and practical application, that the dis- 
grace attending a dishonourable transaction lies only in 
its detection, — that a line of conduct which custom has 
sanctioned in public life cannot be very blameable in 
individual action. 

While the avenues to distinction in public life are in 
great measure closed against men of honour, wealth offers 
a sure road to eminence, and the acquisition of it is the 
great object followed. It is often sought and obtained by 
means from which considerations of honesty and morality 
are omitted ; but there is not, as with us, that righteous 
censorship of public opinion which brands dishonesty with 
infamy, and places the offender apart, in a splendid 
leprosy, from the society to which he hoped wealth would 
be a passport. If you listen to the conversation in cars, 
steamboats, and hotels, you become painfully impressed 
with the absence of moral truth which pervades the 
country. The success of Barnum, the immense popu- 
larity of his infamous autobiography, and the pride which 
large numbers feel in his success, instance the perverted 
moral sense which is very much the result of the absence 
of principle in public life ; for the example of men in the 
highest positions in a state must influence the masses 
powerfully either for good or evil, A species of moral 
obliquity pervades a large class of the community, by 
which the individuals composing it are prevented from 
discerning between truth and falsehood, except as either 
tends to their own personal aggrandisement. Thus truth 
is at a fearful discount, and men exult in successful 
roguery, as though a new revelation had authorised them 
to rank it among the cardinal virtues. 

T 3 


These remarks apply to a class, unfortunately a very 
numerous one, of the existence of which none are more 
paiufully conscious than the good among the Americans 
themselves. Of the uj^r class of merchants, manu* 
fecturers, shipbuilders, &c., it would be difficult to speak 
too highly. They have acquired a world-wide reputation 
for their uprightness, punctuality, and honourable deal- 
ings in all mercantile transactions. 

The oppression which is exercised by a tyrant majority 
is one leading cause of the numerous political associations 
which exist in the States. They are the weapons with 
which the weaker side combats the numerically superior 
party. When a number of persons hit upon a grievance, 
real or supposed, they unite themselves into a society, and 
invite delegates from other districts. With a celerity 
which can scarcely be ima^ned, declarations are issued 
and papers established advocating party views; public 
meetings are held, and a complete organization is se- 
cured, with ramifications extending all over the country. 
A formidable and compact body thus arises, and it occa- 
sionally happens that such a society, originating in the 
weakness of a minority, becomes strong enough to dictate 
a coarse of action to the Executive. 

Of all the associations ever formed, none promised 
to exercise so important an influence as that of the 
Know-nothings, or the American party. It arose out 
of the terrific spread of a recognised evil — namely, 
the power exercised upon the Legislature by foreigners, 
more especially by the Irish Romanists. The great 
influx of aliens, chiefly Irish and Germans, who speedily 
or unscrupulously obtain the franchise, had caused 

Chap.XVIIL the KJ^OW-NOTHINGS. 419^ 

much alarm throughout the country. It was seen that 
the former, being under the temporal and spiritual 
domination of their priests, and through them under 
an Italian prince, were exerting a most baneful in- 
fluence upon the republican institutions of the States. 
Already in two or more States the Romanists had organ- 
ised themselves to interfere with the management of 
the public schools. This alarm paved the way for 
the rapid extension of the new party, which first 
made its appearance before men's eyes with a secret 
organization and enormous political machinery. Its 
success was unprecedented. Favoured by the secresy 
of the ballot, it succeeded in placing its nominees 
in all the responsible oflSces in several of the States, 
Other parties appeared paralysed, and men yielded before 
a mysterious power of whose real strength they were in 
complete ignorance. The avowed objects of the Know-r 
nothings were to establish new naturalization laws, pro- 
hibiting any from acquiring the franchise without a re» 
sidence of twenty-one years in the States — to procure the- 
exclusion of Romanists from all public oflSces — to restore 
the working of the constitution to its original purity — and 
to guarantee to the nation religious freedom, a free Bible, 
and free schools ; in fact, to secure to Americans the right 
which they are in danger of ceasing to possess — ^namely, 
that of governing themselves. 

The objects avowed in the preliminary address were 
high and holy ; they stirred the patriotism of those who 
writhed under the tyranny of an heterogeneous majority, 
while the mystery of nocturnal meetings, and a secret 


organisation, conciliated the support of the young and 
ardent For a time a hope was afforded of the revival 
of a pure form of republican govemment, but unfortu- 
nately the Know-nothing party contained the elements 
of dissolution within itself. Some of its principles savoured 
of intolerance, and of persecution for religious opinions, 
and it ignored the subject of slavery. This can never be 
long excluded from any party consideration, and, though 
politicians strive to evade it, the question still recurs, and 
will force itself into notice. Little more than a year after 
the Know-nothings were first heard of, they came into 
collision with the subject, in the summer of 1855, and, 
after stormy dissensions at their great convention, broke 
up into several branches, some of which totally altered or 
abandoned the original objects of their association. 

Their triumph was brief : some of the States in which 
they were the most successful have witnessed their signal 
overthrow,* and it is to be feared that no practical good 
will result from their future operations. But the good 
cause of constitutional government in America is not lost 
with their £u]ure — ^public opinion, whenever it shall be 
fairly appealed to, will declare itself in favour of truth 
and order ; the conservative principle, though dormant, is 
yet powerful ; and, though we may smile at republican 
inconsistencies, and regret the state into which republican 
government has fallen, it is likely that America contains 
the elements of renovation within herself, and will yet 

* At several of the state elections at the close of 1855 the Know- 
nothings succeeded in placing their nominees in public offices, partly 
by an abandonment of some of their original aims. 

Chap. XVIII. THE PRESS. 421 

present to the world the suhlime spectacle of a free 
people goveming itself by just laws^ and rejoicing in the 
purity of its original republican institutions. 

The newspaper press is one of the most extraordinary 
features in the United States. Its influence is omni- 
present. Every party in religion, politics, or morals, 
speaks, not by one, but by fifty organs ; and every nicely 
defined shade of opinion has its voices also. Every town 
of large size has from ten to twenty daily papers ; every 
village has its three or four; and even a collection of 
huts produces its one " daily," or two or three " weeklies." 
These prints start into existence without any fiscal re- 
strictions : tliere is neither stamp nor paper duty. News- 
papers are not a luxury, as with us, but a necessary of 
life. They vary in price from one halfpenny to three- 
pence, and no workman who could afibrd his daily bread 
would think of being without his paper. Hundreds of 
them are sold in the hotels at breakfast-time; and in 
every steamer and railway car, from the Atlantic ocean 
to the western prairies, the traveller is assailed by news- 
boys with dozens of them for sale. They are bought in 
hiuidreds everywhere, and are greedily devoured by men, 
women, and children. Almost as soon as the locality of 
a town is chosen, a paper starts into life, which always 
has the efiect of creating an antagonist. 

The newspapers in the large cities spare no expense in 
obtaining, either by telegraph or otherwise, the earliest in- 
telligence of all that goes on in the world. Every item of 
English news appears in the journals, from the movements 
of the court to those of the literati ; and a weekly sum- 
mary of parliamentary intelligence is always given. Any 

422 THE PRESS. Chap. XVIII. 

remarkable law proceedings are also succinctly detailed. 
It follows, that a dweller at Cincinnati or New Orleans 
is nearly as well versed in English affairs as a resident 
of Birmingham, and English politics and movements in 
general are very frequent subjects of conversation. Since 
the commencement of the Russian war the anxiety for 
English intelligence has increased, and every item of 
Crimean or Baltic news, as recorded in the letters of the 
"special correspondents," is reprinted in the American 
papers without abridgment, and is devoured by all classes 
of readers. The great fault of most of these journals is 
their gross personality ; even the privacy of domestic life 
is invaded by their Argus-eyed scrutiny. The papers 
discern everything, and, as everybody reads, no current 
events, whether in politics, religion, or the world at large, 
are unknown to the masses. The contents of an American 
paper are very miscellaneous. Besides the news of the 
day, it contains congressional and legal reports, exciting 
fiction, and reports of sermons, religious discussions, and 
religious anniversaries. It prys into every department of 
society, and informs its readers as to the doings and con- 
dition of all. 

Thus every party and sect has a daily register of the 
most minute sayings and doings, and proceedings and 
progress of every other sect ; and as truth and error are 
continually brought before the masses, they have the 
opportunity to know and compare. There are political 
parties under the names of Whigs, Democrats, Know- 
nothings, Freesoilers, Fusionists, Hunkers, Woolly-heads, 
Dough-faces, Hard-shells, Soft-shells, Silver-greys, and I 
know not what besides ; all of them extremely puzzling 

Chap. XVIII. THE PRESS. 423 

to the stranger, but of great local significance. There are 
about a hundred so-called religious denominations, from 
the orthodox bodies and their subdivisions to those pro- 
fessing the lawless fanaticism of Mormonism^ or the 
chilling dogmas of Atheism. All these parties have their 
papers, and eacli "movement" has its organ. The 
"Woman's Right Movement" and the "Spiritual Mani- 
festation Movement" have several. 

There is a continual multiplication of papers, corre- 
sponding, not only to the increase of population, but to 
that of parties and vagaries. The increasing call for 
editors and writers brings persons into their ranks who 
have neither the education nor the intelligence to fit them 
for so important an office as the irresponsible guidance of 
the people. They make up for their deficiencies in know- 
ledge and talent by dery and unprincipled partisanship, 
and augment the passions and prejudices of their readers 
instead of placing the truth before them. The war 
carried on between papers of opposite principles is some- 
thing perfectly terrific. The existence of many of these 
prints depends on the violent passions which they may 
excite in their supporters, and frequently the editors are 
men of the most unprincipled character. The papers 
advocating the opinions of the different religious denomi- 
nations are not exempt from the charge of personalities 
and abusive writing. No discord is so dread as that 
carried on under the cloak of religion, and religious jour- 
nalism in the States is on a superlatively bitter footing. 

But evil as is, to a great extent, the influence exercised 
by the press, terrible as is its scrutiny, and unlimited as 
is its power, destitute of principle as it is in great mea- 

424 THE PRESS. Chap.XVIU. 

sure, it has its bright as well as its dark side. Themes, 
opinions, men, and things, are examined into and sifted 
until all can understand their truth and errw. The 
argument of antiquity or authority is exploded and ridi- 
culed, and the men who seek to sustain antiquated error 
on the foundation of effete tradition are compelled to 
prove it by scripture or reason. Yet sudi are the multi- 
tudinous and tortuous ways in which everything is dis- 
cussed, that multitudes of persons who have neither the 
leisure nor ability to reflect for themselves know not what 
to believe, and there is a very obvious absence of attach- 
ment to clear and strongly defined principles. The great 
circulation which the newspapers enjoy may be gathered, 
without giving copious statistics, from the fact that one 
out of the many New York journals has a circulation of 
187,000 copies.* The New York Tribune may be con- 
sidered the ^' leading journal " of America, but it adheres 
to one set of principles, and Mr. Horace Greely, the 
editor, has the credit of being a powerful advocate of t^e 
claims of morality and humanity. 

It is impossible for a stranger to form any estimate 
of the influence really possessed by religion in America. 
I saw nothing which led me to doubt the assertion made 
by persons who have opportunities of forming an opinion, 
that ^' America and Scotland are the two most religious 
countries in the worid." 

* There are now about 400 daily newspapers in the States : their 
aggregate circulation is over 800,000 copies. There are 2217 weekly 
papers, with an aggregate circulation of 3,100,057 copies; and the 
total aggregate circulation of all the prints is about 5,400,000 copies. 
In one year about 423,000,000 copies of newspapers were printed and 


The Sabbath is well obseryedi not only, as might be 
expected, in the New England States, but in the large 
cities of the Union ; and even on the coasts uf the Pacific 
the Legislature of California has passed an act for its 
better observance in that State. It is probable that, in a 
country where business pursuits and keen competition are 
carried to such an unheard-of extent, all classes feel the 
need of rest on the seventh day, and regard the Sabbath 
as a physical necessity. The churches of all denomina- 
tions are filled to overflowing ; the proportion of commu- 
nicants to attendants is very large ; and the foreign mis- 
sions, and other religious societies, are supported on a 
scale of remarkable liberality. 

There is no established church or dominant religious 
persuasion in the States. There are no national endow- 
ments ; all are on the same footing, and live or die as 
they obtain the suflGrages of the people. While the State 
does not recognise any one form of religion, it might be 
expected that she would assist the ministers of all. Such 
is not the case; and, though Government has wisely 
thought it necessary to provide for the education of the 
people, it has not thought it advisable to make any pro- 
vision for the maintenance of religion. Every one worships 
after his own fashion ; the sects are numerous and sub- 
divided ; and all enjoy the blessings of a complete religious 

Strange sects have arisen, the very names of which are 
scarcely known in England, and each has numerous 
adherents. It may be expected that fanaticism would 
run to a great height in the States. Among the 100 
difibrent denominations which are returned in the census 

426 CLERGY. Chap. XVIII. 

tables, the following designations occnr: Mormonites, 
Antiburgers, Believers in God, Children of Peace, 
Disunionists ; Danian, Democratic Gospel, and Ebenezer 
Socialists; Free Inquirers, Inspired Church, Millerites, 
Menonites, New Lights, Perfectionists, Pathonites, 
Pantheists, Tankards, Bestorationists, Superalists, Cos- 
mopolites, and hosts of others. 

The clergy depend for their salaries upon the congre- 
gations for whom they officiate, and upon private endow- 
ments. The total value of church property in the United 
States is estimated at 86,416,639 dollars, of which one- 
half is owned in the States of Massachusetts, New York, 
and Pennsylvania. The number of churches, exclusive 
of those in the newly-organised territories, is about 38,000. 
There is one church for every 646 of the population. 
The voluntary system is acted upon by each denomina- 
tion, though it is slightly modified in the Episcopalian 
church. In it, however, the bishops are elected, the 
clergy are chosen by the people, and its afiairs are re- 
gulated by a convention. It is the oldest of the deno- 
minations, and is therefore entitled to the first notice. 

It has 88 bishops, 1714 ministers, and 105,350 com- 
municants. It has 1422 churches, and its church property 
is estimated at 11,261,970 dollars. A large number of 
the educated and wealthy are members of this body. Its 
formularies, with the exception of some omissions and 
alterations, are the same as those of the Church of Eng- 
land. Some of its bishops are men of very high attain- 
ments. Dr. Mcllvaine, the Bishop of Ohio, is a man of 
great learning and piety, and is well known in England 
by his theological writings. 


The Methodists are the largest religious body in 
America. As at home, they have their strong sectional 
differences, but they are very useful, and are particularly 
acceptable to the lower orders of society, and among the 
coloured population. They possess 12,467 churches, 838& 
ministers, and 1,672,519 communicants, and the value of 
their church property exceeds 14,000,000 dollars. 

The Presbyterians are perhaps the most important of 
the religious bodies, as regards influence, education, and 
wealth. Their stronghold is in New England. They 
have 7752 congregations, 5807 ministers, and 680,021 
communicants. Their church property is of the value 
of 14,000,000 dollars. 

The Baptists are very numerous. They have 8181 
churches, 8525 ministers, 1,058,754 communicants, and 
church property to the amount of 10,931,382 dollars. 

The Congregationalists possess 1674 churches, 1848 
ministers, and 207,609 communicants. Their property is 
of the value of 7,973,962 dollars. 

The Roman Catholics possessed at the date of the last 
census 1112 churches, and church property to the amount 
of 9,000,000 dollars. 

There is church accommodation for about 14,000,000 
persons, or considerably more than half the population. 
There are 35,000 Sabbath schools, with 250,000 teachers, 
and 2,500,000 scholars. Besides the large number of 
churches, religious services are held in many schools and 
courthouses, and even in forests and fields. The dis- 
semination of the Bible is on the increase. In last year 
the Bible Society distributed upwards of 11,000,000 
copies. The Society for Religious Publications employed 


1300 colporteurs, and effected sales during the year to 
the amount of 526,000 dollars. The principal of the 
religious societies are for the ohsenrance of the sabbath, 
for temperance, anti-slavery objects, home missions, foreign 
missions, &c. The last general receipts of all these so- 
cieties were 3,053,535 dollars. 

In the State of Massachusetts the Unitarians are a 
very influential body, numbering many of the most intel- 
lectual and highly educated of the population. These, 
however, are divided upon the amount of divinity with 
which they shall invest our Lord. 

The hostile spirit which animates some of the religious 
journals has been already noticed. There is frequently 
a good deal of rivalry between the members of the dif- 
ferent sects ; but the way in which the ministers of the 
orthodox denominations act harmoniously together for the 
general good is one of the most pleasing features in 
America. The charitable religious associations are on 
a gigantic scale, and are conducted with a liberality to 
which we in England are strangers. The foreign mis- 
sions are on a peculiarly excellent system, and the self- 
denying labours and zeal of their missionaries are fully 
recognised by all who have come in contact with them. 
No difficulty is experienced in obtaining money for these 
objects ; it is only necessary to state that a certain sum 
is required, and, without setting any begging machinery 
to work, donations exceeding the amount flow in fi'om all 

Altogether it would appear from the data which are 
given that the religious state of America is far more 
satisfactory than could be expected from so heterogeneous 


a population. The. New England States possess to a great 
extent the externals of religion, and inherit in a modified 
degree the principles of their Puritan ancestors ; and the 
New Englanders have emigrated westward in large num- 
bers, carrying with them to the newly settled States the 
leaven of religion and morality. The churches of every 
denomination are crowded, and within my observation by 
as many gentlemen as ladies ; but that class of aspiring 
spirits, known under the name of " Young America^* 
boasts a perfect freedom from religious observances of 
every kind. 

There is a creed known by the name of Universalism, 
which is a compound of Antinomianism with several other 
forms of error, and embraces tens of thousands within its 
pale. It often verges upon the most complete Pantheism, 
and is very popular with large numbers of the youth of 

There is a considerable amount of excitement kept up 
by the religious bodies in the shape of public re-unions, 
congregational soirSes^ and the like, producing a species 
of religious dissipation, very unfavourable, I should sup- 
pose, to the growth of true piety. This system, besides 
aiding the natural restlessness of the American character, 
gives rise to a good deal of spurious religion, and shortens 
the lives and impairs the usefulness of the ministers by 
straining and exhausting their physical energies. 

To the honour of the clergy of ,the United States it 
must be observed that they keep remarkably clear from 
party-politics, contrasting in this respect very favourably 
with the priests of the Church of Rome, who throw the 
weight of their influence into the scale of extreme demo- 


cracy and fanatical excesses. The unity of action which 
their eccleaastical system ensures to them makes their 
progressive increase much to be deprecated. 

It is owing in great measure to the efforts of the 
ministers of religion that the unbending principles of 
truth and right have any hold upon the masses ; they 
are ever to be found on the side of rational and consti- 
tutional liberty in its extreme form, as opposed to licence 
and anarchy ; and they give the form of practical action 
to the better feelings of the human mind. Amid the 
great difficulties with which they are surrounded, owing 
to the want of any fixed principles of right among the 
masses, they are ever seeking to impress upon the public 
mind that the undeviating laws of morality and truth 
cannot be violated with impunity any more by millions 
than by individuals, and that to nations, as to individuals, 
the day of reckoning must sooner or later arrive. 

The voluntary system in religion, as it exists in its 
immodified form in America, has one serious attendant 
evil. Where a minister depends for his income, not upon 
the contributions to a common fund, as is the case in the 
Free Church of Scotland, but upon the congregation imto 
which he ministers, his conscience is to a dangerous 
extent under the power of his hearers. In many in- 
stances his uncertain pecuniary relations with them must 
lead him to slur over popular sins, and keep the unpa- 
latable doctrines of the Bible in the background, prac- 
tically neglecting to convey to fallen and wicked man his 
Creator's message, '^ Repent, and believe the Gospel." 
It has been found impossible in the States to find a just 
medium between state-support, and the apathy which in 


the opinion of many it has a tendency to engender, and 
an unmodified voluntary system, with the subservience 
and *' high-pressure " which are incidental to it. 

Be this as it may, the clergy of the United States 
deserve the highest honour for their high standard of 
morality, the fervour of their ministrations, the zeal of 
their practice, and their abstinence from politics. 



(General remarks continaed — The common schoolB — Their defect — 
Difficulties — Management of the schools — The free academy — 
Railways — Telegraphs — Poverty — Literature — Advantages for 
emigrants — Difficulties of emigrants — Peace or war — Concluding 

At a time when the deficiencies of our own educational 
system are so strongly felt, it may be well to ^ve an out- 
line of that pursued in the States. The following statistics, 
taken from the last census, show that our Transatlantic 
brethren have made great progress in moral and intel- 
lectual interests. 

At the period when the enumeration was made there 
were 80,958 public schools, with 91,966 teachers, and 
2,890,507 scholars ; 119 colleges, with 11,903 students ; 
44 schools of theology ; 36 schools of medicine ; and 16 
schools of law. Fifty millions of dollars were annually 
spent for education, and the proportion of scholars to the 
community was as 1 to 5. 

But it is to the common-school system that tbe attention 
should be particularly directed. I may premise that it 
has one unavoidable defect, namely, the absence of religious 
instruction. It would be neither possible nor right to 
educate the children in any denominational creed, or to 
instruct them in any particular doctrinal system, but would 
it not, to take the lowest ground, be both prudent and 


politic to give them a knowledge of the Bible, as the only 
undeviating rule and standard of truth and right ? May 
not the obliquity of moral vision, which is allowed to exist 
among a large class of Americans, be in some degree 
chargeable to those who have the care of their education — 
who do not place before them, as a part of their instruc- 
tion, those principles of truth and morality, which, as 
revealed in Holy Scripture, lay the whole universe under 
obligations to obedience ? History and observation alike 
show the little influence practically possessed by principles 
destitute of superior authority, how small the restraint 
exercised by conscience is, and how far those may wander 
into error who once desert " Life's polar star, the fear of 
God." In regretting the exclusion of religious instruction 
from the common-school system, the difficulties which 
beset the subject must not be forgotten, the multiplicity 
of the sects, and the very large number of Roman 
Catholics. In schools supported by a rate levied indis- 
criminately on all, to form a course of instruction which 
could bear the name of a religious one, and yet meet the 
views of all, and clash with the consciences and prejudices 
of none, was manifestly impossible. The religious public 
in the United States has felt that there was no tenable 
ground between thorough religious instruction and the 
broadest toleration. Driven by the circumstances of their 
country to accept the latter course, they have exerted 
themselves to meet this omission in the public schools by 
a most comprehensive Sabbath-school system. But only 
a portion of the children under secular instruction in the 
week attend these schools ,* and it must be admitted that 
to bestow intellectual culture upon the pupils, without 

u ^ 


giying them religious instractioo, is to draw forth and add 
to the powers of the mind, without giving it any belio to 
guide it ; in other words, it is to increase the capadty, 
without diminishing the prop^sity, to do evil. 

Apart from this important conedderation, the educational 
system pursued in the States is worthy of the highest 
praise, and of an enlightened people in the nineteenth cen- 
tury. The education is conducted at the public exp^2se, 
and the pupils consequently pay no fees. Parents feel 
that a free education is as much a part of the birthright 
of their children as the protection which the law affords to 
their life and property. 

The schools called common schools are supported by an 
education rate, and in each State are under the adminis- 
tration of a general board of educaticm, with local boards, 
elected by all who pay the rate. In the State of Massar 
chusetts al(Hie the sum of 921,532 dollars was raised 
within the year, being at the rate of very nearly a dollar 
for every inhabitant. Under the supervision of the 
General Board of Education in the State, schools are 
erected in districts according to the educational neces- 
sities of the population, which are periodically ascertained 
by a census. 

To give some idea of the system adopted, I will just 
give a sketch of the condition of education in the State 
of New York, as being the most populous and im- 

There is a " state tax," or " appropriation," of 800,000 
dollars, and this is supplemented by a rate levied on real 
and personal property. Taking as an authority the return 
made to the Legislature for the year ending in 1854, the 


total sum expended for school purposes within the State 
amounted to 2,469^248 dollars. The total number of 
children in the organised districts of the State was 
1,150,532, of whom 862,935 were registered as being 
under instruction. The general management of education 
within the State is vested in a central board, with local 
boards in each of the organised districts, to which the im- 
mediate government and official supervision of the schools 
are intrusted. 

The system comprises the common schools, with their 
primary and upper departments, a normal school for the 
preparation Qf teachers, and a free academy. In the city 
of New York there are 224 schools in the receipt of 
public money, of which 25 are for coloured children, and 
the number of pupils registered is given at 133,813. 
These common or ward schools are extremely handsome, 
and are fitted up at great expense, with every modern 
improvement in heating and ventilation. Children of 
every class, residing within the limits of the city, are ad- 
missible without payment, as the parents of all are supposed 
to be rated in proportion to their means. 

There is a principal to each school, assisted by a nu- 
merous and efficient staff of teachers, who in their turn 
are expected to go through a course of studies at the 
Normal School. The number of teachers required for 
these schools is very great, as the daily attendance in 
two of them exceeds 2000. The education given is so 
very superior, and habits of order and propriety are so 
admirably inculcated, that it is not uncommon to see the 
children of wealthy storekeepers side by side with those 
of working mechanics. In each school there is one large 

u 2 


assembly-room, capable of accommodating from 500 to 
1000 children, and ten or twelve capacious class-rooms. 
Order is one important rule, and, that it may be acted 
upon, there is no overcrowding — the pupils being seated 
at substantial mahogany desks only holding two. 

The instruction given comprises all the branches of a 
liberal education, with the exception of languages. There 
is no municipal community out of America in which the 
boon of a first-rate education is so freely offered to all 
as in the city of New York. There is no child of want 
who may not freely receive an education which will fit 
him for any office in his country. The comyion school is 
one of the glories of America, and every citizen may be 
justly proud of it. It brings together while in a pliant 
condition the children of people of difierent origins ; and 
besides difiusing knowledge among them, it softens the 
prejudices of race and party, and carries on a continual 
process of assimilation. 

The Board of Education of New York has lately 
thrown open several of these schools in the evening, and 
with very beneficial results. The number of pupils regis- 
tered last year was 9313. Of' these, 3400 were above 
the age of 16 and under 21, and 1100 were above the 
age of 21. These evening-schools entailed an additional 
expense of 17,563 dollars; the whole expenditure for 
school purposes in the city being 430,982 dollars. In 
the ward and evening schools of New York, 133,000 
individuals received instruction. Each ward, or educa- 
tional district, elects 2 commissioners, 2 inspectors, and 
8 trustees. The duties of the inspectors are very arduous, 
as the examinations are frequent and severe. 


The crowning educational advantage offered by this 
admirable system is the Free Academy. This academy 
receives its pupils solely from the common schools. Every 
person presenting himself as a candidate must be more 
than 13 years of age, and, having attended a common 
school for 12 months, he must produce a certificate from 
the principal that he has passed a good examination in 
spelling, reading, writing, English grammar, arithmetic, 
geography, elementary book-keeping, history of the 
United States, and algebra. This institution extends to 
the pupils in the common schools the advantage of a free 
education in those higher departments of learning which 
cannot be acquired without considerable expense in any 
other college. The yearly examination of candidates for 
admission takes place immediately after the common 
school examinations in July. There are at present nearly 
600 students under the tuition of 14 professors, and as 
many tutors as may be required. The course of study 
extends over a period of 5 years, and is very complete 
and severe. Owing to the principle adopted in their 
selection, the pupils, representing every social and pecu- 
niary grade in society, present a very high degree of 
scholarship and ability. In this academy the vestiges of 
antagonism between the higher and lower classes are swept 
away. Indeed, the poor man will feel that he has a 
greater interest in sustaining this educational system than 
the rich, because he can only obtain through it those 
advantages for his children which the money of the wealthy 
can procure from other sources. He will be content with 
his daily toil, happy in the thought that, by the wise pro- 
vision of his government, the avenues to fame, prefer 


ment, and wealth, are opened as freely to his children as 
to those of the richest citizen in the land. 

In order to secure a supply of properly qualified 
teachers, the Board of Education has established a normal 
school, which numbers about 400 pupils. Most of these 
are assistant-teachers in the common schools, and attend 
the normal school on Saturdays, to enable themselves to 
obtain further attainments, and higher qualifications for 
their profession. 

Under this system of popular education, the average 
cost per scholar for 5 years, including books, stationery, 
fuel, and all other expenses, is 7 dollars 2 cents per 
annum. This system of education is followed in nearly 
all the States ; and while it reflects the highest credit on 
America, it contrasts strangely with the niggard plan 
pursued in England, where so important a thing as the 
education of the people depends almost entirely on pre- 
carious subscriptions and private benevolence. 

With a gratuitous and comprehensive educational 
system, it may excite some surprise that the citizens of 
New York and other of the populous cities are compelled 
to supplement the common schools with those for the 
shoeless, the ragged, and the vicious, very much on the 
plan of our Scotch and English ragged-schools. Already 
the large cities of the New World are approximating to 
the condition of those in the Old, in producing a sub- 
sidence or deposit of the drunken, the dissolute, the 
vicious, and the wretched. With parents of this class, 
education for their ofispring is considered of no import- 
ance, and the benevolent founders of these schools are 
compelled to offer material inducements to the children 


to attend, in the shape of food and clothing. At these 
schools, in place of the cleanly, neat, and superior appear- 
ance of the children in the common schools, dirt, rags, 
shoeless feet, and pallid, vidous, precocious countenances 
are to be seen. Nothing destroys so effectually the ex- 
ternal distinguishing peculiarities of race as the habit of 
evil. There is a uniformity of expression invariably pro- 
duced, which is most painful. Tliese children are early 
taught to look upon virtue only as a cloak to be worn by 
the rich. This dangerous and increasing class in New 
York is composed almost entirely of foreign immigrants. 
The instruction in these schools is given principally by 
ladies of high station and education. It is a noble feature 
in New York "high life,'* and in process of time may 
diminish the gulf which is widening between the different 
classes, and may lessen the hideous contrasts which are 
presented between princely fortunes on the one hand, and 
vicious poverty on the other. 

Taking the various schools throughout the Union, it is 
estimated that between 4,000,000 and 5,000,000 indivi- 
duals are at this time receiving education. 

To turn from the social to the material features of the 
United States: their system of internal communication 
deserves a brief notice, for by it their resources have been 
developed to a prodigious extent. The system of rail- 
ways, telegraphs, and canal and river navigation presents 
an indication of the wealth and advancement of the United 
States, as wonderful as any other feature of her progress. 
She contains more miles of railway than all the rest of the 
world put together. 

In a comparatively new country like America many of 

440 RAILWAYS. Chap. XIX. 

the items of expense which attend the construction of rail- 
ways in England are avoided ; the initiatory expenses are 
very small. In most of the States, all that is necessary is, 
for the company to prove that it is provided with means 
to carry out its scheme, when it obtains a Charter from the 
Legislature at a very small cost. In several States, in- 
cluding the populous ones of New York and Ohio, no 
special charter is required, as a general railway law pre- 
scribes the rules to be observed by joint-stock companies. 
Materials, iron alone excepted, are cheap, and the right 
of way is usually freely granted. In the older States 
land would not cost more than 20/. an acre. Wood fre- 
quently costs nothing more than the labour of cutting it, 
and the very level surface of the country renders tunnels, 
cuttings, and embankments generally unnecessary. The 
average cost per mile is about 38,000 dollars, or 7600/. 

In States where land has become exceedingly valuable, 
land damages form a heavy item in the construction of 
new lines, but in the South and West the case is reversed, 
and the proprietors are willing to give as much land as 
may be required, in return for having the resources of 
their localities opened up by railway communication. It 
is estimated that the cost of railways in the new States 
will not exceed 4000/. per mile. The termini are plain, 
and have been erected at a very small expense, and many 
of the wayside stations are only wooden sheds. Few of 
the lines have a double line of rails, an4 the bridges or 
viaducts are composed of logs of wood, with little iron- 
work and less paint, except in a few instances. Except 
where the lines intersect cultivated districts, fences are 
seldom seen, and the paucity of porters and other officials 

Chap. XIX. EAILWAYS. 441 

materially reduces the working expenses. The common 
rate of speed is from 22 to 30 miles an honr, but there are 
express trains which are warranted to perform 60 in a 
like period. The fuel is very cheap, being billets of 
wood. The passenger and goods traffic on nearly all the 
lines is enormous, and it is stated that most of them pay 
a dividend of from 8 to 15 per cent. 

The primary design has been to connect the sea-coast 
with all parts of the interior, the ulterior is to unite the 
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. At the present time there 
are about 25,000 miles of railway in operation and course 
of construction, and the average rate of fare is seldom 
more than Id. per mile. Already the chief cities of the 
Atlantic have been connected with the vast valley of the 
Mississippi, and before long the regions bordering on 
Lake Huron and Lake Superior will be united with 
Mobile and New Orleans. In addition to this enormous 
system of railway communication, the canal and river 
navigation extends over 10,000 miles, and rather more 
than 3000 steamboats float on American waters alone. 

The facilities for telegraphic communication in the 
States are a further evidence of the enterprise of this 
remarkable people. They have now 22,000 miles of tele- 
graph in operation, and the cost of transmitting messages 
is less than a halfpenny a word for any distance under 
200 miles. The cost of construction, including every 
outlay, is about 30/. per mile. The wires are carried 
along the railways, through forests, and across cities, rivers, 
and prairies. Messages passing from one very distant 
point to another have usually to be re-written at an 
intermediate station ; though by an improved plan they 



haye been transmitted direct from New York to Mobile, 
a distance of 1800 miles. By the Cincinnati telegraphic 
route to New Orleans, a distance from New York of 
2000 miles, the news brought by the British steamer to 
Sandy Hook at 8 in the morning has been telegraphed to 
New Orleans, and before 11 o'clock the effects pro- 
duced by it upon speculations there have been returned 
to New York — the message accomplishing a distance of 
4000 miles in three hours. The receipts are enormous^ 
for, in consequence of the very small sum charged for 
transmitting messages, as many as 600 are occasionally 
sent along the principal lines in one day. The seven 
principal morning papers in New York paid in one year 
50,000 dollars for despatches, and 14,000 for special 
messages. Messages connected with markets, public 
news, the weather, and the rise and fall of stocks, are 
incessantly passing between the great cities. Any change 
in the weather likely to affect the cotton-crop is known 
immediately in the northern cities. While in the Ex- 
change at- Boston, I witnessed the receipt of a telegraphic 
despatch announcing that a heavy shower was falling at 
New Orleans ! 

It must not be supposed that there is no poverty in 
the New World. During one year 134,972 paupers 
were in the receipt of relief, of whom 59,000 were in the 
State of New York ; but to show the evil influence of the 
foreign, more especially the Irish, element in America, 
it is stated that 75 per cent, of the criminals and paupers 
are foreigners. 

The larger portion of the crime committed is done 
under the influence of spirits ; and to impose a check upon 


their sale, that celebrated enactment, known under the 
name of the " Maine Lcno*^ has been placed upon the 
statute-books of several of the States, including the im- 
portant ones of New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Con- 
necticut, and Nebraska. This law prohibits, under heavy 
penalties, the manufacture or sale of alcoholic liquors. 
It has been passed in obedience to the will of the people, 
as declared at the elections ; and though to us its provi- 
sions seem somewhat arbitrary, its working has [H'aduced 
very salutary effects. . 

When 80 much importance is attached to education, and 
such a liberal provision is made for it, it is to be expected 
that a taste for reading would be universally diffused. 
And such is the case : America teems with books. Every 
English work worth reading is reprinted in a cheap form 
in the States as soon as the first copy crosses the Atlantic. 
Our reviews and magazines appear regularly at half price, 
and Dickens' ' Household Words * and * Chambers' Jour- 
nal' enjoy an enormous circulation without any pecuniary 
benefit being obtained by the authors. Every one reads 
the newspapers and ' Harper's Magazine,' and every one 
buys bad novels, on worse paper, in the cars and steam- 
boats. The States, although amply supplied with English 
literature, have many popular authors of their own, 
among whom may be named Frescott, Bancroft, Wash- 
ington Irving, Stowe, Stephens, Wetherall, Emerson, 
Longfellow, Lowell, and Bryant. Books are very cheap 
wherever the editions of English works are concerned, and 
a library is considered an essential part of the fitting up 
of a house. In many of the States there are public libra- 
ries supported by a rate, la the State of New York, in 


the year ending 18549 the Commissioners of Education 
received 90,579 dollars for libraries. 

Perhaps the greatest advantage offered to emigrants is 
the opportunity everywhere afforded of investing small 
sums of money advantageously. In England, in most 
branches of trade, tlie low rate of wages renders it im- 
possible for the operative to save any portion of his earn- 
ings ; and even when he is able to do so, he can rarely 
obtain a higher rate of interest for his money than that 
which the savings-banks offer. Economise as he may, 
his hard-won savings seldom are sufficient to afford him a 
provision in old age. In America, on the contrary, the 
man who possesses 57. or 107. has every hope of securing 
a competence. He may buy land in newly-settled dis- 
tricts, which sometimes can be obtained at 7s. an acre, 
and hold it till it becomes valuable, or he may obtain a 
few shares in any thriving corporate concern. A hundred 
ways present themselves to the man of intelligence and 
industry by which he may improve and increase his little 
fortune. The necessaries of life are abundant and cheap, 
and, aided by a free education, he has the satisfaction of 
a well-grounded hope that his children will rise to posi- 
tions of respectability and affluence, while his old age"^ 
will be far removed from the pressure of want. The 
knowledge that each shilling saved may produce ten or 
twenty by judicious investment is a constant stimulus to 
his industry. 

Yet, from all that I have seen and heard, I should 
think that Canada West offers a more advantageous field 
for emigrants. Equally free and unburdened by taxa- 
tion, with the same social and educational advantages, 


with an increasing demand for labour of every kind, with 
a rich soil, extraordinary facilities of communication, and 
a healthy climate, pauperism is unknown ; fluctuations in 
commercial aflairs are comparatively small, and, above 
all, the emigrant is not exposed to the loss of everything 
which he possesses as soon as he lands. 

An infamous class of swindlers, called " emigrant-run- 
ners," meet the poor adventurer on his arrival at New 
York. They sell him second-class tickets at the price of 
first-class, forged passes, and tickets to take him 1000 
miles, which are only available at the outside for 200 or 
300. If he holds out against their extortions, he is 
beaten, abused^ loses his luggage for a time, or is trans* 
ferred to the tender mercies of the boarding-house keeper, 
who speedily deprives him of his hard-earned savings. 
These runners retard the "westward progress of the emi- 
grant in every way ; they charge enormous rates for the 
removal of his luggage from the wharf; they plunder 
him in railway-cars, in steamboats, in lodging-houses ; 
and if Providence saves him from sinking into drunken- 
ness and despair, and he can be no longer detained, they 
sell him a lot in some non-existent locality, or send him 
oflF to the west in search of some pretended employment. 
Too frequently, after the emigrant has lost his money and 
property, sickened by disappointment and deserted by 
hope, he is content to remain at New York, where he con- 
tributes to increase that "dangerous class" already so 
much feared in the Empire City. 

One point remains to be noticed, and that is^ the feel- 
ing which exists in America towards England. Much has 
been done to inflame animosity on each side ; national 


rivalries bare been encooraged, and national jealousies 
fomented. In trarelling through the United States I ex- 
pected to find a very strong anti-English feeling. In this 
I was disappointed. It is true that I scarcely ever entered 
a car, steamboat, or hotel, without hearing England made 
a topic of discussion in connexion with the war ; but, ex- 
cept on a few occasions in the West, I never heard any 
other than kindly feelings expressed towards our country. 
A few individuals would prognosticate fidlure and dis- 
aster, and glory in the anticipation of a ^ busting-np ;" 
but these were generally ^ Kumels **^ of militia, or newly- 
arrived Irish emigrants. These last certainly are very 
noisy enemies, and are quite ready to subscribe to the 
maxim, ^^That wherever England possesses an interests 
there an American wrong exists.** Some of the papers 
likewise write against England in no very measured terms ; 
but it must be borne in mind that declamatory speaking 
and writing are the safety-valves of a free community, 
and the papers from which our ojMnion of American feel- 
ing IS generally taken do not represent even a respectable 
minority in the nation. American commercial interests 
are closely interwoven with ours, and ** Brother Jonathan** 
would not lightly go against his own interests by rushing 
into war on slight pretences. 

While I was dining at an hotel in one of the great 
American cities a gentleman prq)Osed to an English 
friend of his to drink *^ Success to Old England.'* Nearly 
two hundred students of a well-known college were pre- 
sent, and .one of them begged to join in drinking the toast 
on behalf of his fellow-students. " For," he added, " we, 
in common with the educated youth of America, look 


upon England as upon a venerated mother." I have fre- 
quently heard this sentiment expressed in public places, 
and have often heard it remarked that kindly feeling 
towards England is on the increase in society. 

The news of the victory of the Alma was received 
with rejoicing ; the heroic self-sacrifice of the cavalry at 
Balaklava exdted enthusiastic admiration ; and the glo- 
rious stand at Inkermann taught the Americans that their 
aged parent could still defend the cause of ireedom with 
the vigour of youth. The disasters of the winter, and 
the gloomy months of inaction which succeeded it, had 
the effect of damping their sympathies ; the prophets of 
defeat were for a time triumphant, and our fading 
prestige, and reputed incapacity, were made the subjects 
of ill-natured discussion by the press. But when the 
news of the fall of Sebastopol arrived, the tone of the 
papers changed, and, relying on the oblivious memories 
of their readers, they declared that they had always 
prophesied the demolition of Russia. The telegraphic 
report of the victory was received with rejoicing, and the 
ship which conveyed it to Boston was saluted with thirty- 
one guns by the States artillery. 

The glory of the republic is based upon its advanced 
social principles and its successful prosecution of the arts 
of peace. As the old military despotisms cannot compete 
with it in wealth and enlightenment, so it attempts no 
competition with them in standing armies and the arts of 
war. National vanity is a failing of the Americans^ and, 
if their military prowess had never been proved before, 
they might seek to display it on European soil ; but their 
successful struggle with England in the War of Inde- 


pendence renders any such display unnecessary. The 
institutions of the States do not date from the military 
ages of the world, and the Federal Constitution has made 
no provision for offensive war. The feeling of the edu- 
cated classes, and of an immense majority in the Free 
States, is believed to be essentially English. Despotism 
and freedom can never unite ; and whatever may be the 
declamations of the democratic party, the opinion of those 
who are acquainted with the state of popular feeling is 
that, if the question were seriously mooted, a war with 
England or a Russian alliance would secure to the pro- 
moters of either the indignation and contempt which they 
would deserve. It is earnestly to Tbe hoped, and I trust 
that it may be believed, that none of us will live to see 
the day when two nations, so closely allied by blood, 
religion, and the love of freedom, shall engage in a 
horrible and fratricidal war. 

Such of the foregoing remarks as apply to the results 
of the vitiation of the pure form of republican govern- 
ment delivered to America by Washington, I have 
hazarded with very great diffidence. In England we 
know very little of the United States, and, however 
candid the intentions of a tourist may be, it is difficult 
in a short residence in the country so completely to throw 
off certain prejudices and misapprehensions as to proceed 
to the delineation of its social characteristics with any 
degree of fairness and accuracy. The similarity of lan- 
guage, and to a great extent of customs and manners, 
renders one prone rather to. enter into continual compari- 
sons of America with England than to look at her from 
the point from which she really ought to be viewed — 


namely, herself. There are, however, certain salient 
points which present themselves to the interested observer, 
and I have endeavoured to approach these in as candid 
a spirit as possible, not exaggerating obvious faults, 
virhere there is so much to commend and admire. 

The following remarks were lately made to me by a 
liberal and enlightened American on the misapprehen- 
sions of British observers : — " The great fault of English 
travellers in this land very often is that they see all 
things through spectacles which have been graduated to 
the age and narrow local dimensions of things in England ; 
and because things here are new, and all that is good, 
instead of being concentrated into a narrow space so as 
to be seen at one glance, is widely diffused so as not 
to be easily gauged — because, in other words, it is the 
spring here and not the autumn, and our advance has 
the step of youth instead of the measured walk of age ; 
and because our refinements have not the precise customs 
to which they have been accustomed at home, they turn 
away in mighty dissatisfaction. There are excellences 
in varieties, and things which differ may both be good." 



The America — A gioomj deputare-^An ugly ol^t-^ Homing at 
Halifax — Our newpttuengen — Bibies — CaptaiaLtttdi-^A day 
at sea — dippen and steamers — A storm — An Atlantic moon- 
light — Unpleasant wriiiMniinn A gale — - Inkennann**^ CondnBioil. 

Ok reaching Boston I found that my passage bad been 
taken in the Cunard steamer America, reputed to be the 
slowest and wettest of the whole line. Some of my kind 
American friends, anxions to induce me to remain for the 
winter with them, had exaggerated the dangers and dis- 
comforts of a winter-passage ; the Decembw stcrms, the 
three days spent in crossing the Newfoimdland Banks, 
steaming at hal^peed with fbg-bells ringing and fog- 
horns blowing, the impossibility of going on deck, and the 
disagreeableness of being shut up in a close heated saloon. 
It was with all these slanders against the ship firesh in 
my recollection that I saw her in dock on the morning of 
my leaving America, her large, shapeless, wall-sided hull 
looming darkly through a shower of rain. The friends 
who had first welcomed me to the States accompanied me 
to the vessel, rendering my departure from them the 
more regretful, and scarcely had I taken leave, of them 
when a gun was fired, the lashings were cast off, and our 
huge wheels began their ceaseless revolutions. 

It was in some respects a cheerless embarkation. The 
Indian summer had passed away ; the ground was bound 

Chap. XX. AN UGLY NIGHT. 451 

by frost ; driving showers of sleet were descending ; and 
a cold, howling, wintry wind was sweeping over the waters 
of Massachusetts Bay. We were considerably retarded 
between Boston and Halifax by contrary winds. I had 
retired early to my berth to sleep away the fatigues of 
several preceding months, and was awoke about midnight 
by the most deafening accumulation of sounds which 
ever stunned my ears. I felt that I was bruised, and 
that the berth was unusually hard and cold ; and, after 
groping about in the pitch-darkness, I found that I had 
been thrown out of it upon the floor, a &ct soon made 
self-evident by my being rolled across the cabin, a pecu* 
liarly disagreeable course of locomotion. It was impos- 
sible to stand or walk, and in crawling across to my berth 
I was assailed hyjoay portmanteau, which was projected 
violently against me. Further sleep for some hours was 
impossible. Bang I bang! would come a heavy wave 
against the ship*8 side, close to my ears, as if trying the 
strength of her timbers. Crash I crash ! as we occasion- 
ally shipped heavy seas, would the waves burst over the 
lofty bulwarks, and with a fall of seven feet at once come 
thundering down on the deck above. Then one sound 
asserted its claim to be heard over all the others — a sound 
as if our decks were being stove — ^a gun or some other 
heavy body had broken loose, and could not be secured. 
The incessant groaning, splitting, and heaving, and the 
roar of the water through the scuppers, as it found a 
tardy egress from the deluged deck, was the result of 
merely a " head-wind " and " an ugly night." 

Late on the second evening of our voyage, I walked on 
deck. It was the ^^ fag-end " of a gale, and the rain was 

^ .i X i:r3'«i AT HALIFAX. Chap. XX. 

X .;r -^ J. wTt 'irh»a :iie sUppenr planks. Brightly a sky- 
^►n.'v. ' ^r.^-rr^i ii?*ar»is nrjm a distant sKp, and burst in 
» ^-^ «••- fcc iiLae* 5 il ?wed by two others^ signalliDg our 

■*-. jL-zii^ •;r.:r.'^ n!*? CtntztitL, boaml from Liverpool to 
>>*.''t. v.- ^t:t ID -^me fireworks in return, and soon 

,*ai ^^- •- t nw t^ttlIv jCTt on her paddle-box. She 
^a^ "t « T ^* r» :ajtr «e saw till we reached the Irish 


^ ' -«»rcn: i :w tther 3aaEeas[^Hrs«. I was cm deck at 
'*x i '^tr '*.»-^:jLi "o «« the liixhts on Ae heads of 

* •% 'a.— -.r It ««^ iark and late aB e lT cML and 
K'^ " '^« '•c- • Tuu lau itrasit on de^ durng the 
^ . --i s- , >c^ "^ ^ltl^ Ae water ran off in little 
.-».•- ^ >»■•.< >-?f^:*i: •firn«s ciune oa dedk, men 

■ • . • •^r'N 1 ^j-; jcd nIskiQ capes and eoa^ wiA 

* -• - r - V. ■-* - ''•■»i* ^^ ir^iikle*! browsv and Woe 
.-- . \->2^-^ -.u -v-*-* i^'TLoei the de^p eastern ir, 
■ '• "? ^^"^T'.'s Tilt xu -ciTS- iLsunKored one br one, 

•: :*^ .nils jt^Sbva ScoCxa stood 

- ^ *-• ..J-.- 1*4 rv *^:t» woeiu :iil of a svaiden, 

.- *» "r 1*^ V -ur:** ^Hts? bimmi the porpfe 

^•-v -^ •* ^- .* 1.* xti. -vwn usd ^aise-Ske bar were 

"^ v^ o* ^ & vt'>mMr:=anRae. & was now 

>. ^ . .^ w>« ^rr«:":^:^^ut ])ML Twaaed. fiwsa the 

■ ««. I --uT < ^uv:i .ur mpartanr t * w ' wt as the 

^ 1. ••x^dui sjtMjiter. t :»i:ag rMBWii beem sap" 

• « ^, 

■« ■■ — ■'■- 



yielded to as a necessity, instead of being indulged in as 
a luxury, we found the shops closed, and, except the 
people immediately connected with the steamer, none 
were stirring in the streets but ragged negroes and 
squalid-looking Indians. A few 'cute enterprising Yankees 
would soon metamorphose the aspect of this city. As an 
arrogant American once observed to me, " It would take 
a ' Blue Nose ' (a Nova-Scotian) as long to put on his hat 
as for one of our free and enlightened citizens to go from 
Bosting to New Orleens.^^ The appearance of the town 
was very repulsive. A fall of snow had thawed, and, mix- 
ing with the dust, store-sweepings, cabbage-stalks, oyster- 
shells, and other rubbish, had formed a soft and peculiarly 
penetrating mixture from three to seven inches deep. 

Eighteen passengers joined the America at Halifax, 
and among them I was delighted to welcome my cousins, 
a party of seven, en route from Prince Edward Island to 
England. The two babies which accompanied them were 
rather dreaded in prospect, but I believe that their be- 
haviour gained them general approbation. As dogs are 
not allowed on the poop or in the saloon, a well-con- 
ditioned baby is rather a favourite in a ship ; gentlemen 
of amiable dispositions give it plenty of nursing and 
tossing, and stewards regard it with benignant smiles, 
and occasionally offer it " titbits " purloined from dinner. 
Among the passengers who joined us at Halifax were 
Captain Leitch, and three of the wrecked officers of the 
steamship Citi/ of Philadelphia, which was lost on Cape 
Race three months before. Captain Leitch is a remark- 
able-looking man, very like the portraits of the Count 
of Monte Christo. His heroism and presence of mind 


OP the occasion bf that terrible disaster were the means 
of saving the lives of six hundred people, many ot 
whom were women and children. When the ship struck, 
the panic among this large numb^ of persons was of 
course awful; but so perfect was the discipline of the 
crew, and so great their attachment to their commander, 
that not a cabin-boy left the ship in that season of appre- 
hension without his permission. Captain Leitch said that 
be would be the last man to quit the ship, and he kept 
his word ; but the excitement, anxiety, and subsequent 
exposure to cold and fatigue, more especially in his 
search after the suryivors of the ill-fated Arctic^ brou^t 
on a malady from which he was seyerely suffering. 

We had only sixty passengers on board, and the party 
was a remarkably quiet one. There was a gentleman 
going to Paris as American consul, a daily, animated, 
and untiring advocate of slavery ; a Jesuit missionary, of 
agreeable manners and cultivated mind, on bis way to 
Borne to receive an episcopal hat ; two Jesuit brethren ; 
five lively French people ; and the usual number of com- 
mercial travellers, agents, and storekeepers, principally 
from Canada. There were very few ladies, and only three 
besides our own party appeared in the saloon. For a 
few days after leaving Halifax we had a calm sea and 
fair winds, accompanied with rain ; and with the exception 
of six unhappy passengers who never came upstairs 
during the whole voyage, all seemed well enough to 
make the best of things. 

A brief description of the daily routine on board 
these ships may serve to amuse those who have never 
crossed the Atlantic, and may recall agreeable or dis- 


agreeable recollections, as the case may be, to those who 

During the first day or two those who are sea-sick 
generally remain downstairs, and those who are well 
look sentimentally at the receding land, and make ac- 
quaintances with whom they walk five or six in a row, 
bearing down isolated individuals of anti-social habits. 
After two or three days have elapsed, people generally 
lose all interest in the novelty, and settle down to such 
pursuits as suit them best. At eight in the morning the 
dressing-bell rings, and a very few admirable people get 
up, take a walk on deck, and appear at breakfast at half- 
past eight But to most this meal is rendered a super- 
fluity by the supper of the night before — that condemned 
meal, which everybody declaims against, and everybody 
partakes of. However, if only two or three people appear, 
the long tables are adorned profusely with cold tongue, 
ham, Irish stew, mutton-chops, broiled salmon, crimped 
cod, eggs, tea, coffee, chocolate, toast, hot rolls, &c. &c. ! 
These viands remain on the table till half-past nine. 
After breakfast some of the idle ones come up and take 
a promenade on deck, watch the wind, suggest that it has 
changed a little, look at the course, ask the captain for the 
fiftieth time when he expects to be in port, and watch the 
heaving of the log, when the officer of the watch invariably 
tells them that the ship is running a knot or two faster than 
her real speed, giving a glance of intelligence at the same 
time to some knowiqg person near. Many persons who are 
in the habit of crossing twice a-year begin cards directly 
after breakfast, and, with only the interruption of meals, 
play till eleven at night. Others are equally devoted to 


chess; and the commercial trayellers produce small square 
books with columns for dollars and cents, cast up their 
accounts, and bite the ends of their pens. A bell at 
twelve calls the passengers to lunch from their various 
lurking-places, and, though dinner shortly succeeds this 
meal, few disobey the summons. There is a large con- 
sumption of pale ale, hotch-potch, cold beef, potatoes, and 
pickles. These pickles are of a peculiarly brilliant green, 
but, as the forks used are of electro-plate, the daily con- 
sumption of copper cannot be ascertained. 

At four all the tables are spread ; a bell rings — ^that 
*^ tocsin of the soul," as Byron has sarcastically but 
truthfully termed the dinner-bell ; and all the passengers 
rush in from every quarter of the ship, and seat them- 
selves with an air of expectation till the covers are raised. 
Grievous disappointments are often disclosed by the up- 
lifted dish-covers, for it must be confessed that to many 
people dinner is the great event of the day, to be specu- 
lated upon before, and criticised afterwards. There is a 
tureen of soup at the head of each table, and, as soon as 
the captain takes his seat, twelve waiters in blue jackets, 
who have been previously standing in a row, dart upon 
the covers, and after a few minutes of intense clatter the 
serious business of eating begins. The stewards serve 
with civility and alacrity, and seem to divine your wishes, 
their good oflSces no doubt being slightly stimulated by the 
vision of a douceur at the end of the voyage. Long bills 
of fare are laid on the tables, and good water, plentifully 
iced, is served with each meal. Wine, spirits, liqueurs, 
and ale are consumed in large quantities, as also soups, 
fish, game, venison, meat, and poultry of all kinds, with 


IVench side-dishes, a profiision of jellies, puddings, and 
pastry, and a plentiful dessert of fresh and preserved 
fruits. Many people complain of a want of appetite at 
sea, and the number of bottles of " Perrin's Sauce " used 
in the Cunard steamers must almost make the fortune of 
the maker. At seven o'clock the tea-bell rings, but the 
tables are comparatively deserted, for from half-past nine 
to half-past ten people can order whatever they please in 
the way of supper. 

In the America^ as it was a winter-passage, few persons 
chose to walk on deck after dinner, consequently the 
saloon from eight till eleven presented the appearance of 
a room at a fashionable hotel. There were two regularly 
organised whist-parties, which played rubbers ad infi- 
nitum. Cards indeed were played at most of the tables 
— ^some played backgammon — a few would doze over odd 
volumes of old novels— while three chess-boards would be 
employed at a time, for there were ten persons perfectly 
devoted to this noble game. The varied employments of 
the occupants of the saloon produced a strange mixture 
of conversations. One evening, while waiting the slow 
movements of an opponent at chess, the following remarks 
in slightly raised tones were audible above the rest : — 
" Do you really think me pretty ? — Oh flattering man I — 
Deuce, ace — Treble, double, and rub — That's a good 
hand — Check — It's your play — You've gammoned me — 
Ay, ay, sir — Parbleu ! — Holloa ! steward, whisky-toddy 
for four— I totally despise conventionalisms — Checkmate 
— Brandy-punch for six — You've thrown away all your 
hearts " — and a hundred others, many of them demands 
for something from the culinary department. Occa- 
sionally a forlorn wight, who neither played chess nor 



cards, would yenture on deck to kill time, and return 
into the saloon panting and shiyering^ in rough surtout 
and fur cap, bringing a chilly atmosphere with him, yoted 
a bore for leaving the door open, and totally unable to 
induce people to sympathise with him in his complaints of 
rain, cold, or the " ugly night ** By eleven the saloon 
used to become almost unbearable, from the combined 
odours of roast onions, pickles, and punch, and. at half- 
past the lights were put out, and the company dispersed, 
most to their berths, but some to smoke cigars on deck. 

Though the Cunard steamers are said by English 
people to be as near perfection as steamers can be, I 
was sorry not to return in a clipper. There is something 
so exhilarating in the motion of a sailing-vessel, always 
provided she is neither rolling about in a calm, lying to 
in a gale, or beating against a head-wind. She seems to 
belong to the sea, with her tall tapering masts, her cloud 
of rooving canvas, and her buoyant motion over the rolling 
waves. Her movements are all comprehensible, and 
above-Board she is invariably clean, and her crew are con- 
nected in one's mind with nautical stories which charmed 
one in the long-past days of youth. A steamer is very 
much the reverse. "Sam Slick," with his usual force 
and aptitude of illustration, says that " she goes through 
the water like a subsoil-plough with an eight-horse team." 
There is so much noise and groaning, and smoke and 
dirt, so much mystery also, and the ship leaves so much 
commotion in the water behind her. There do not seem 
to be any regular sailors, and in their stead a collection 
of individuals remarkably greasy in their appearance, who 
may be cooks or stokers, or possibly both. Then you 
cannot go on the poop without being saluted by a whiff 

Chap. XX. A FAIR WIND, 459 

of hot air from the grim furnaces below ; men are always 
shovelling in coal, or throwing cinders overboard ; and the 
rig does not seem to belong to any ship in particular. 
The masts are low and small, and the canvas, which is 
always spread in fair weather, looks as if it had been 
trailed along Cheapside on a wet day. In the America 
it was not such a very material assistance either ; for on 
one occasion, when we were running before a splendid 
breeze under a crowd of sail, the engines were stopped 
and the log heaved, which only gave our speed at three 
miles an hour. One lady passenger had been feeding her 
mind with stories of steamboat explosions in the States, 
and spent her time in a morbid state of terror by no 
means lessened by the close proximity of her state-room 
to the dreaded engine. 

On tjie sixth day after leaving Halifax the wind, which 
everybody had been hoping for or fearing, came upon us 
at last, and continued increasing for three days, when, if 
we had been beating against it, we should have called it a 
hurricane. It was, however, almost directly aft, and we 
ran before it under sail. The sky during the two days 
which it lasted was perfectly cloudless, and the sea had 
that peculiar deep, clear, greenish-blue tint only to be 
met with far from land. There was a majesty, a sub- 
limity about the prospect from the poop exceeding every- 
thing which I had ever seen. There was the mighty 
ocean showing his power, and here were we poor insignifi- 
cant creatures overcoming him by virtue of those heaven- 
sent arts by which man 

** Has made fire, flood, and earth. 
The vassals of his will." 

I had often read of mountain waves, but believed the 

X 2 


comparison to be a mere figure of speech till I saw them 
here, all glorious in their beauty, under the clear blue of 
a December sky. Two or three long high hills of water 
seemed to fill up the whole horizon, themselves an 
^ggrcg^te of a countless number of leaping, foam-capped 
waves, each apparently large enough to overwhelm a ship. 
Huge green waves seemed to chase us, when, just as they 
reached the stem, the ship would liflt, and they would pass 
under her. She showed especial capabilities for rolling. 
She would roll down on one side, the billows seeming ready 
to burst in foam over her, while the opposite bulwark was 
fifteen or eighteen feet above the water, displaying her 
bright green copper. The nights were more glorious 
than the days, when the broad full moon would shed her 
light upon the water with a brilliancy unknown in our 
foggy clime. It did not look like a wan flat surface, 
placed flat upon a watery sky, but like a large radfant 
sphere hanging in space. The view from the wheel-house 
was magnificent. The towering waves which came up 
behind us heaped together by mighty winds, looked like 
hills of green glass, and the phosphorescent light like 
fiery lamps within — the moonlight glittered upon our 
broad foamy wake — our masts and spars and rigging stood 
out in sharp relief against the sky, while for once our 
canvas looked white. Far in the distance the sharp bow 
would plunge down into the foam, and then our good 
ship, rising, would shake her shiny sides, as if in joy at her 
own buoyancy. The busy hum of men marred not the 
solitary sacredness of midnight on the Atlantic. The 
moon ^' walked in brightness," auroras flashed, and me- 
teors flamed, and a sensible presence of Deity seemed to 
pervade the transparent atmosphere in which we were 


viewing " the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the 

I could scarcely understand how this conjunction of 
circumstances could produce any but agreeable sensations ; 
but it is a melancholy fact that the saloon emptied and 
the state-rooms filled, and the number of promenaders 
daily diminished. People began to find the sea "an 
unpleasant fact." I heard no more Byronic quotations 
about its " glad waters," or comments on the " splendid 
run " — these were changed into anxious questions as to 
when we should reach Liverpool ? and, if we were in 
danger? People querulously complained of the ale, 
hitherto their delight; abused the meat; thought the 
mulligatawny "horrid stufl^; " and wondered how they 
could ever have thought plum-puddings fit for anything 
but pigs. Mysterious disappearances were very common ; 
diligent peripatetics were seen extended on sofas, or 
feebly promenading under shelter of the bulwarks; while 
persons who prided themselves on their dignity sustained 
ignominious falls, or clung to railings in a state of totter- 
ing decrepitude, in au attempted progress down the 
saloon. Though we had four ledges on the tables, 
cruets, bottles of claret, and pickles became locomotive, 
and jumped upon people's laps ; almost everything 
higher than a plate was upset — pickles, wine, ale, and 
oil forming a most odoriferous mixture ; but these occur- 
rences became too common to be considered amusing. 
Two days before reaching England the gale died away, 
and we sighted Cape Clear at eight o'clock on the 
evening of the eleventh day out. A cold chill came off 
from the land, we were enveloped in a damp fog, and the 

462 A GALE. Chap. XX. 

inclemency of the air reminded us of what we had nearly 
forgotten, namely, that we were close upon Christmas. 

The greater part of Sunday we were steaming along 
in calm water, within sight of the coast of 'Ireland, and 
extensive preparations were being made for going ashore 
— some people of sanguine dispositions had even decided 
what they would order for dinner at the Adelphu Morn- 
ing service was very fully attended, and it was interesting 
to hear the voices of people of so many diflperent creeds 
and countries joining in that divinely-taught prayer which 
proclaims the universal brotherhood of the human race, 
knowing that in a few hours those who then met in 
adoration would be separated, to meet no more till sum- 
moned by the sound of the last trumpet. 

Those who expected to spend Sunday night on shore 
were disappointed. A gale came suddenly on us about 
four o'clock, sails were- hastily taken in, orders were 
hurriedly given and executed, and the stewards were in 
despair, when a heavy lurch of the ship threw most of the 
things off the table before dinner, mingling cutlery, 
pickles, and broken glass and china, in one chaotic heap 
on the floor. As darkness came on, the gale rose higher, 
the moon was obscured, the rack in heavy masses was 
driving across the stormy sky, and scuds of sleet and spray 
made the few venturous persons on deck cower under the 
nearest shelter to cogitate the lines— 

" Nights like these^ 
When the rough winds wake western seas. 
Brook not of glee.*' 

I might dwell upon the fury of that night—upon the 
awful blasts which seemed about to sweep the seas of every 

Chap. XX. INKERMANN. 4(>3 

human work — upon our unanswered signals — upon the 
length of time while we were 

" Drifting, drifting, drifting. 
On the shifting 
Currents of the restless main " — 

upon the difficulty of getting the pilot on board — and the 
heavy seas through which our storm-tossed bark entered 
the calmer waters of the Mersey : but I must hasten on. 

Night after night had the French and English passengers 
joined in drinking with enthusiasm the toast '^ La prise de 
SebastopoV — night after night had the national pride of 
the representatives of the allied nations increased, till we 
almost thought in our ignorant arrogance that at the first 
thunder of our guns the defences of Sebastopol would fall, 
as did those of Jericho at the sound of the trumpets of 
Joshua. Consequently, when the pilot came on board 
with the newspaper, most of the gentlemen crowded to the 
gangway, prepared to give three cheers for the fall of 
Sebastopol ! 

The pilot brought the news of victory — ^but it was of 
the barren victory of Inkermann. A gloom fell over the 
souls of many, as they read of our serried ranks mown 
down by the Russian fire, of heroic valour* and heroic 
death. The saloon was crowded with eager auditors as 
the bloody tidings were made audible above the roar of 
winds and waters. I could scarcely realise the gloomy 
fact that many of those whom I had seen sail forth in hope 
and pride only ten months before were now sleeping under 
the cold clay of the Crimea. Three differs for the victors 
of Inkermann, and three for our allies, were then heartily 
given, though many doubted whether the heroic and sue- 


cessful resistance of our troops deserved the name of 

Soon after midnight we anchored in the Mersey, but 
could not land till morning, and were compelled fre- 
quently to steam up to our anchors, in consequence of the 
fury of the gale. I felt some regret at leaving the good old 
steamship America^ which had borne us so safely across 
the " vexed Atlantic," although she rolls terribly, and is, 
in her admirable captain's own words, " an old tub, but 
slow and sure." She has since undergone extensive 
repairs, and I hope that the numerous passengers who 
made many voyages in her in the shape of rats have been 
permanently dislodged. 

Those were sacred feelings with which I landed upon 
the shores of England. Although there appeared little of 
confidence in the present, and much of apprehension for 
• the future, I loved her better when a shadow was upon 
her than in the palmy days of her peace and prosperity. 
I had seen in other lands much to admire, and much to 
imitate ; but it must not be forgotten that England is the 
source from which those streams of liberty and enlighten- 
ment have flowed which have fertilised the Western Con- 
tinent. Other lands may have their charms, and the sunny 
skies of other climes may be regretted, but it is with pride 
and gladness that the wanderer sets foot again on British 
soil, thanking God for the religion and the liberty which 
have made this weather-beaten island in a northern sea to 
be the light and glory of the world.